Most people are aware of the many benefits that regular cardiovascular (CV) exercise provides for the health of our hearts and minds, as well as our overall health. However, you may not know how CV exercise also benefits our spine!
- Our blood stream provides our bodies with the nutrition and oxygen that is vital for our cells to heal, including those that make up the various structures of our spine. When we’re engaged in CV exercise, two things happen: We increase both the rate of our circulation and our blood volume. As a result, we get more blood to the spine. The more blood we get to our spine, the more nutrition and oxygen, which speeds the healing process of our painful neck and/or back!
- CV exercise also helps to decrease pain by decreasing inflammation, by calming our overly sensitive nervous system, and by releasing more endorphins into our bloodstream. These are our “feel good” chemicals, which not only improve our overall outlook on life, but also play a significant role in pain reduction.
- The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of CV exercise per week. While the gold standard is still 20 – 40 minutes, 3 – 5x/week; recent research has shown that 2, 10 minute bouts of exercise is just as beneficial as one, 20 minute bout. Meaning, everything you do adds up!
- Examples of CV exercise include bicycling, walking briskly, swimming laps, or using a variety of CV machines such as an elliptical machine or treadmill. CV exercise should be performed at an intensity level that causes you to break a light sweat and make your heart beat faster.
- So, pat yourself on the back every time you do CV exercise, knowing that you’re not only doing good things for your heart, but for your back as well!