The Heart of Fitness
A committed practice necessitates studying, research...delving beyond superficial. Committed, as in, you want to progress beyond ego restricted boundaries. Ride the mind's wander of wonder in the learning process. Bottom line, exercise studying how the body works so you can practice the heart of fitness. Save the "how to maximize" this and "how to reduce that" thinking until you know the foundation of what you're doing. Let's start with the first organ to develop in utero and the last to stop.
The heart. One pound muscle simultaneously taking de-oxygenated blood back to be refilled and sending oxygenated blood to every cell. It beats to the chemical balance of O2 and CO2. Chemoreceptors detect blood acidity and emit electrical signals to the heart's muscle to contract based on how the see saw of oxygen and carbon dioxide is tilting. The SA node (the heart's pacemaker) is a bundle of cells designed to generate electric pulses to make the heart pump. The pace is not only determined by physical activity. It is affected by the neurological stream of hormones released by either the sympathetic nervous system or the parasympathetic nervous system. Cardiology...the study of the heart...continues to discover how this one pound muscle moves you physically, emotionally, physiologically and every other 'ology' you can think of.
The cardio work out concept skyrocketed after Dr.Kenneth Cooper researched and discovered how astronauts could maintain strong heart fitness while in space. Inactivity and lack of gravity is a recipe for atrophy. The discovery at NASA catapulted aerobic work outs to the mainstream. Taking cardio to extremes has consequences. Remember, the heart is a muscle. It can develop tears, inflammation, and scar tissue like other muscles. Chief difference, once damaged, self-repair not possible. We were designed to maintain homeostasis for optimum well-being.
Heart fitness is not how often and how long you make it pump hard and fast. If we didn't predominantly live sedentary lives, it wouldn't matter. Diet is a key element in heart health. Emotions play a large role. Mind and body are a swirling mix of elements. Learn something about one of the six chief elements that we are. Calcium.
Milk and dairy products have been advocated for close to a century. Primary point of necessity...calcium for strong bones. There are a few holes in the cheese sold to us. In your throat, you have a parathyroid gland who's primary function is to control levels of calcium in the blood and bones. Excess of calcium is released into the blood and destroys bone. Excess raises blood pressure causing heart to work harder and produces kidney stones. Bones do not regenerate when overload is present. Risk of osteoporosis is increased.
The medulla oblongata, a part of the brain stem, is a component of the autonomic system (functions you don't have to think about to make work...like the heart beat) and determines the heart rate. Melatonin, a hormone released by the sun's rays, protects your heart. It is thought of as a sleep agent; however, it is a natural anti-cancer agent that works at night while you sleep. Your immune system is compromised by lack of melatonin. The body repairs itself at night while you sleep. The heart rate slows down and the free radicals are sought after and eliminated. Lack of rest builds a larger army of radicals lacking the best of intentions. Simply stated, these spare electrons (free radicals) are a factor in cancer.
And the heart keeps beating...day and night...for life. It is interdependent of every element in the body and mind. It does not need extremes. It needs balance. Your awareness of thought, what you consume, choice of exercise, a good night's sleep, catching a few rays of sun and more...all play a factor on the dedicated, loving muscle we call the heart. If you want to get it or keep it strong, think beyond isolated cardio exercises. See the bigger picture of what makes it's lifelong job easier and act/think accordingly.
DaVinci said, "Realize that everything connects to everything else." Start with the heart and connect the dots.