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Fitness and Flexible Blood Vessels

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 (HealthSentinel.com 2007).


HealthSentinel.com. 2007. Exercise creates heart vessels. Accessed Mar. 20, 2017. www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2037:exercise-creates-heart-vessels&catid=6:other-sources&Itemid=7.

Jaret, P. 2011. Exercise for healthy skin. Accessed Mar. 20, 2017. www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise#1.

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

Joy Keller

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor and yoga teacher (RYT 200). She has been working as a business to business journalist for more than 25 years and specializes in custom communication and content strategy/ production.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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