A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 5: Training for Endurance 96 Introduction Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart and lungs to efficiently deliver oxygenated blood to the working muscles as well as the muscle’s ability to extract and use the oxygen provided. Endurance training is a specific method of training used to improve cardiovascular fitness. Regular participation in endurance training has been shown to improve longevity (life expectancy), blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and body composition. Additional benefits associated with regular endurance training include a decreased risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Research shows that the risk factors associated with coronary heart disease often begin in childhood or early adolescence and the majority of young adults aged 18-24 already have at least one risk factor. Research also shows that having at least one risk factor in young adulthood increases an individual’s risk of developing long-term coronary heart disease (Arts et al., 2014). Finally, endurance training may be especially advantageous for college students as it also helps to improve sleep quality, mental health and cognitive function (Walters & Byl, 2021). Table 5.1 depicts some of the specific physiological adaptations associated with chronic endurance training (Haff & Triplett, 2016). Table 5.1. Physiological Adaptations Associated with Chronic Endurance Training ↑ Aerobic power (VO2max) ↓ Percent body fat ↑ Oxygen carrying capacity ↓ Resting and maximal heart rate ↑ Mitochondrial and capillary density ↓ Resting and maximal blood pressure ↑ Maximal cardiac output and stroke volume - ↑ Resting stroke volume - ↑ Arteriovenous oxygen difference - ↑ Cardiac muscle strength - ↑ Connective tissue strength - ↑ Metabolic enzyme number and activity - ↑ Fat-burning capacity - ↑ Metabolic energy stores (e.g., ATP, CP, glycogen, triglycerides) - When performing endurance training, it is important to personalize the training regime to the individual instead of using a program found online or designed for another athlete. According to Baechle & Earle (2008): A common trend with many endurance athletes is to adopt and embrace the training practices of other highly successful or well-known endurance athletes. Although this strategymay be effective