When it comes to your body’s daily functioning, circulation plays an essential role in assisting keeping you alive. Your circulation affects all parts of your body including your heart, brain, lungs, stomach, and muscles. So, it should come as no surprise that exercise can play a role in circulation. Exercise and the circulatory system have a mutually benefitting relationship. According to Donald Dengel, PhD, director of the Laboratory of Integrative Human Physiology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, “exercise makes the circulatory system stronger, more flexible, and more expansive — all at the same time. A healthy circulatory system then returns the favor by boosting athletic performance.” Exercise has also been proven to prevent and also help to cure the arterial damage that comes from unhealthy eating and unhealthy lifestyles in general.
When it comes to the mutual relationship, here are six ways in which exercise and circulation go hand in hand.
- Exercise promotes blood-vessel health
- Exercise helps inoculate against chronic disease
- Exercise reduces heart-disease risk
- Exercise bolsters athletic performance
- Exercise improves lymphatic function
- Exercise makes the heart bigger and stronger
When it comes to your heart, exercise plays a vital role in keeping it happy and healthy. When you exercise, your heart rate increases. As your fitness levels begin to improve, your heart in turn becomes stronger, thus decreasing your resting heart rate. According to Live Strong, “As you exercise, the hormone adrenalin causes your blood vessels to expand to allow passage of a greater-than-normal volume of blood. This is called vasodilation, which is a short-term response to exercise and is one of the reasons your surface blood vessels may become more prominent during exercise.” Another important component with exercise and circulation comes from the effect exercise has on your red blood cell count. By continuously working out and improving your fitness regime, you increase the number of red cells in your body. As a result, your body can transport more oxygen to parts of your body.
For centuries, water has been associated with healing and spiritual properties that we have incorporated into our daily routines and cultural practice. Have you ever found your mood significantly change when you are near a body of water? There is almost a sense of pure serenity and peace when you are looking out over a lake or ocean. Why does this happen? Why does nature, and, more specifically water, sooth us the way it does?
According to Wallace J. Nichols, PHD, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, “researchers look carefully at studies detailing the calming effect of nature on the human mind, and they find over and over that water helps amplify nature’s soothing, healing qualities.” He also states that when it comes to our bodies, we all naturally have a “blue mind,” which can be described as a meditative state that can be categorized by qualities such as serenity, harmony, and satisfaction that is actually prompted when we are in or around different sources of water. Water can be a source of clarity, entertainment, and exercise in our everyday lives.
According to Nichols, the following are six important benefits when it comes to your “blue mind”
- Water gives our brain a rest
- Water can induce a meditative state
- Water can inspire us to be more compassionate and connected
- A blue mind is a creative mind
- Exercise by or in water is good for our bodies and brains
Another important aspect of water that draws us into it is the ability that water has to both change and remain consistent all at the same time. Our brains and bodies get a two for one special by getting the benefit of stability and consistency with the added bonus of a stimulating change all in one! The positive benefits and advantages associated with water can be important for people dealing with the stress and pressures of everyday life. According to Nichols, “water impacts all five senses at the same time with a positive, powerful image and memory,” he says. “The good memories from a day on the water help override bad memories that haunt someone and possibly help crack that shell, letting them rejoin the world.”
Experiencing this state of “blue mind” does not require you to go sit at the beach and watch the waves crashing to the shore (as beautiful and peaceful as that may be). Rather, it can be something as simple as taking a bath, going fishing, or drinking water! Whatever your source may be, incorporate more water into your life. Both your physical and mental health will thank you for it.