1) Improved Cardiovascular Fitness
One of the first health benefits of jogging you will experience is improved cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular fitness (also known as cardiorespiratory endurance or aerobic fitness) refers to how efficient the heart, lungs and vascular system (the vessels that carry blood and lymph through the body) are at delivering oxygen to the muscles that need it and also how efficient these muscles become at using the oxygen. As your cardiovascular fitness improves your lung capacity increases meaning that you can take in more oxygen with each breath. Your heart’s stroke volume also increases meaning that with each pump it can transport more blood and oxygen through the vascular system to the muscles. Finally, your muscles become more efficient at absorbing oxygen meaning that they can take more oxygen molecules from the blood.
The overall effect is that with each breath you take in more oxygen, with each pump your heart transports more oxygen to your muscles and finally your muscles are able to utilise more of this oxygen. With improved cardiovascular fitness comes further health benefits such as improved endurance, reduced risk of heart disease and reduced body fat. I will be discussing all these additional health benefits of jogging below.
2) Reduced Blood Pressure
Reduced blood pressure is another of the important health benefits of jogging. Blood pressure refers to the force with which your blood pushes against your blood vessel walls. If your blood pressure becomes too high it weakens your blood vessel walls which makes them more susceptible to aneurysms (bulging), atherosclerosis (the build up of fatty substances on the blood vessel walls) and hemorrhage (bursting).
The overall impact is that the flow of blood to and from your heart gets restricted causing it to become weak whilst at the same time having to work increasingly hard to pump blood through these blocked or damaged blood vessels. Over time this leads to the onset of heart attacks and heart disease. High blood pressure can also causesignificant damage to your brain, your kidneys, your cardiac muscles and your eyes.
No one knows exactly what causes high blood pressure. However, there are a number of risk factors and one of these is poor cardiovascular fitness. Therefore, by improving your cardiovascular fitness through jogging you can reduce your blood pressure and avoid the associated complications.
3) Increased HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol
Another of the key health benefits of jogging is increased HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol) helps control your overall cholesterol levels by scraping your blood vessels for excess cholesterol and then carrying it to the liver where it can be processed and excreted. If this excess cholesterol is not removed it may form plaque on your blood vessel walls which causes them to harden and become blocked. This then restricts the flow of blood to and from your heart which (as discussed above) ultimately causes heart attacks and heart disease. Improving your cardiovascular fitness increases your HDL cholesterol levels and in this way exercises such as jogging support a healthy heart and vascular system. Continue reading