Let me just preface this post with something I firmly believe: exercise should be about being healthy and feeling great about yourself, a fit body is just an extra perk!
So you’re looking for ‘thinspiration’ to motivate you through tough workouts and the daily fight against chocolate cake? Take down the picture of Kate Upton or Bar Raefeli that is hanging on your refrigerator and replace it with this:
I am willing to bet that to 95% of you, this is just another graph. However, for me, this is all the thinspiration I need (also, my understanding of this graph will determine my grade on my mammalian physiology test tomorrow)! My professor says that in order to truly understand some material, you need to be able to teach it. So, in every effort to ace my exam, I am going to attempt to explain the significance of this graph in layman’s terms to all of you non-sciency readers. I wish I could say that what I am about to explain isn’t thrilling to me, but lets be honest, I’m a nerd and I love this stuff. Also, for anyone who is reading this who knows a lot more about this subject than I do, please correct any errors I make in my explanation. 🙂
Here goes nothing!
For those who are not aware, it is a common misconception that increasing your heart rate during exercise is the ultimate goal. NO. You want to be just like person X whose statistics are recorded in the graph above. They are increasing their stroke volume during exercise in addition to increasing their heart rate. Stroke volume is what is important because you want your heart to be strong enough to pump more blood with each beat. The only thing that is decreasing in the graph is TPR (for the sake of this explanation, this is blood pressure). NORMALLY if TPR decreases, this means there is less of a pressure difference between your aorta and left ventricle, which would lead to less cardiac output. However, in the graph it is clear that this person’s cardiac output is way up. This is due to the increased flow of blood in and out of the heart (which is essentially stroke volume). Think about it this way: if your ventricles can take in more blood and pump out more blood, you will still get an increased cardiac output even with decreased TPR. KUDOS if you have made it this far! I kept the explanation short and sweet. Hopefully you understand a little more about why you want to strive to condition your heart to increase stroke volume and not just beat faster! Happy exercising 🙂