The Cardiovascular System

  • The Cardiovascular System is made up of the heart, blood and blood vessels.
  • It’s responsible for the transport of nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to cells throughout the body.
  • The heart is divided into four chambers: the right atrium, the right ventricle, the left atrium, and the left ventricle.
  • Each heart beat follows a sequence known as the Cardiac Cycle, which includes diastole (relaxation and filling of the heart) and systole (contraction and emptying of the heart).
  • The primary role of the red blood cells is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and then transport carbon dioxide back to the lungs for exhalation.
  • Arteries, veins and capillaries are the three main types of blood vessels. Arteries carry blood away from the heart, veins carry blood back to the heart, and capillaries connect the two.
  • Oxygenated blood is pumped from the left side of the heart to the entire body through arteries, while deoxygenated blood is brought back to the right side of the heart through veins.
  • One function of the cardiovascular system during physical activity is to increase the supply of oxygen to working muscles.
  • The cardiovascular system adapts to long-term exercise by becoming more efficient: resting heart rate decreases, stroke volume increases, and blood volume and red blood cell count increase. These adaptations improve the body’s ability to transport and utilise oxygen.
  • Lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, smoking, and stress management can significantly impact the health of the cardiovascular system. Proper nutrition and regular physical activity promote heart health, whereas smoking and chronic stress can damage the cardiovascular system.
  • Regular physical activity can prevent or manage health problems such as stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and arthritis that are associated with poor cardiovascular health.

Note: Remember that a detailed understanding of the structure and function of the cardiovascular system, and its responses and adaptations to exercise, are important for understanding how individuals can develop and maintain their health and fitness levels through physical activity.