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The Right Moves
Your heart is without a doubt the hardest-working muscle in your body. Throughout the average lifetime, the heart pumps about a million barrels of blood—enough to fill three supertankers! And, like any muscle, the heart requires regular exercise to maintain peak performance. Healthy cardiovascular training can be as simple as going on a 30-minute walk every day… and the benefits are immediate as well as cumulative.
When you start moving—whether you're taking a leisurely stroll or running the stairs at your local stadium—you're likely to notice the physical effects of cardiovascular exercise right away. Your breathing becomes deeper and more rapid, drawing more life-giving oxygen to your blood. Your heart will beat faster, which increases blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs. Your capillaries will widen to flush your muscles with oxygen and remove waste products like carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Better still, your body will begin to release endorphins, natural hormones that reduce pain and increase emotional well being. Cool, huh?
If you're just starting a regular workout program, it's normal to feel fatigued. But here's the cool part: the more you move, the more stamina you'll gain… leading to increased energy throughout the day. Over time, the muscles of your heart will actually get stronger, pumping more efficiently and increasing blood flow to your organs and extremities. Exercise activates your immune system. And as for the long term, cardiovascular fitness may be the single best thing you can do for your overall health—aiding in healthy weight loss and reducing your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer.
In short, a healthy heart is a healthy body. Keep yours beating strong far into the future with a balanced diet and regular exercise… and the sunny emotional outlook that tends to come along.