Fitness and Flexible Blood Vessels

by Joy Keller on May 19, 2017

Body Lab

Exercise offers a unique boon to the circulatory system.

Clients often focus on the many aesthetic benefits of exercise, including weight loss and improved skin tone (Jaret 2011). Remind your hard-working clients of the numerous other benefits they’re reaping when they’re repping—the good stuff that happens behind the scenes, or rather, beneath the skin.

The circulatory system delivers blood to the body’s tissues, which is something people take for granted until presented with a health hazard or challenge. Aerobic exercise provides many heart-healthy benefits, including improvements in blood-vessel flexibility. Research by Douglas Seals, PhD, University of Colorado, revealed that exercise is a potent way to preserve vessel function as we grow older (Seals 2014). The research, which looked at masters athletes, found that “aerobic exercise preserves endothelial function with aging by maintaining nitric oxide bioavailability.” Seals said his work supports “the novel hypothesis that aerobic exercise may exert beneficial effects by directly inducing protection to aging arteries against multiple adverse factors.”

Exercise opens the door for another amazing feat: new blood-vessel growth. In 2007, research presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting showed that exercise promoted the creation of new heart blood vessels in people with heart failure who rode a bicycle for up to 30 minutes a day for 4 months. Exertion creates extra blood flow, straining the heart, and stem cells are sent to relieve the stress and repair the damage. Over time the stem cells may build new blood vessels, strengthening muscles ( 2007).

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References 2007. Exercise creates heart vessels. Accessed Mar. 20, 2017.

Jaret, P. 2011. Exercise for healthy skin. Accessed Mar. 20, 2017.

Seals, D. 2014. The remarkable anti-aging effects of aerobic exercise on systemic arteries. Journal of Applied Physiology, 117 (5), 425–39.

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About the Author

Joy Keller

Joy Keller IDEA Author/Presenter

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master. Joy joined IDEA Health & Fitness Association in 2002, and brought with her a wealth of information about how to fine-tune communication channels, after having spent her formative career years specializing in business-to-business journalism. Before she even graduated with honors from the respected University of Georgia journalism school, Joy was offered a job at one of the most successful trade publishing companies in the southeast, Shore Varrone, Inc. She made her mark in the automotive aftermarket industry as a creative thinker and journalist with an intuitive knack for researching and understanding niche audiences. Joy has worked on several titles, including Auto Trim & Restyling News, Truck Accessory News, Digital Output Magazine, Retail & Construction News, Miata magazine, Ford Racing, and many more. Her passion, however, lies with health and fitness. She was the associate editor of ACE Certified News while working at the American Council on Exercise, and transitioned that publication from a newsletter to a magazine. She has enjoyed 17 years at IDEA, where she has launched several publications, including the award-winning Inner IDEA Body-Mind Spirit Review, IDEA Pilates Today and IDEA Fit Business Success. Joy is a content creator and media 2.0 advocate who takes pride in discovering the unique information needs of qualified audiences, and she is dedicated to serving those needs while following the highest available standards.