Cardiovascular exercise (CE) trains the heart and lungs, improving oxygen absorption and distribution to the cells of our bodies. Those of you who have taken a course in anatomy and physiology may be familiar with the principal known as Wolff’s Law. More than one hundred years ago, the German Anatomist Julius Wolff, noticed that when animals were sedentary, their bones got weaker and more brittle (what we now call osteopenia and (when severe) osteoporosis). Conversely, he was able to show that animals with osteopenia/osteoporosis could improve and strengthen their bones by becoming more active. By loading weight onto the bones, the body physiologically adapted, meeting the new demand for activity by actually remodeling the bone tissue, making it harder and denser. Wolff’s law, at its essence, can be summed up by the phrase: ‘Use it or lose it.’ And Wolff’s law, it turns out, applies to more than just the bones. Muscle, lung, heart, even brain function improves with use and diminishes with inactivity. Regular CE, when done correctly, improves the function of every body tissue either directly or indirectly.
Keep in mind that the changes Wolff observed did not take place overnight. Back to the concept of the Continuum, change (for better or worse) is a gradual process and so is the product not of heroic focused effort, but of our habits of living. The AIL does not involve dieting, it involves a healthy style of eating; it does not involve reaching a certain body weight goal, but rather of getting to and then maintaining healthy body fat levels through good habits. Similarly, CE, with its profound anti-inflammation and pro-circulation effects, is not something to be done until one ‘becomes healthy.’ Failure to exercise the heart and lung regularly will cause you to lose function of these vital organs. Regular CE over long periods of time enables you to gradually improved their function. Making CE a part of your lifestyle enables you to maintain cardiac and pulmonary health for life. What’s more, improving heart and lung function results in improved oxygen absorption and distribution to the cells of our bodies and CE exerts a profound general anti-inflammation effect on the body.