I keep telling patients that cardiovascular exercise is essential for effective injury repair. Individuals who do not exercise, who work in polluted environments, or who smoke tend to heal at a much slower rate.
Aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, running, and swimming) is the fastest way to increase the strength and function of your cardiovascular system. The problem is, most people never work their cardiovascular system hard enough to actually experience these changes. You must work within your aerobic zone to achieve these benefits.
By increasing the capillary density, you are able to get more nutrients and oxygen into your soft tissues (muscle, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue), thereby helping them to heal at a much faster rate. The increased capillary density also means that you are better able to eliminate the waste by-products produced during healing (or with normal cell metabolism) again allowing them to perform more efficiently.
Aerobic exercise also increases the function of mitochondria in your cells. This increased mitochondrial function immediately boosts your body's ability to generate power and energy since your mitochondria are the principal energy generators for your cells. (1)
Mitochondria convert existing nutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a form of energy that is readily usable by all the cells in your body. Your body uses this energy to perform all of its functions - from healing existing injuries to eliminating waste, and powering your muscles when you walk, talk, or perform any action. (1)
As we age, or when we injure ourselves, our ability to produce ATP decreases. Exercise is one of the few factors that will naturally increase ATP production to give you increased energy. Increased ATP production is one very significant way in which exercise can help turn back your biological clock.
Calculating your aerobic zone - Use the following formula to calculate your aerobic zone:
Subtract your age from the number 220.
For example, if I am 40 years old, then 220 - 40 = 180.
Obtain the low end of your aerobic range by multiplying the result of step 1 by 0.6.
In our example: 180 x 0.6 = 108
Obtain the high end of your aerobic range by multiplying the result of step 1 by 0.7. In our example: 180 x 0.7 = 126
This is your aerobic heart rate zone within which you need to work to develop your aerobic capacity. It is the zone which will best speed your recovery from an injury. If you work above this zone you run the risk of injury. If you work below this zone, you will not achieve the maximum benefits provided by your aerobic warm-up.
At Kinetic Health exercise is an integral part of every treatment!
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Lundby, C., Jacobs, R.A. (2016). Adaptations of Skeletal Muscle Mitochondria to Exercise Training. Experimental Physiology, 101 (1), 17-22