Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Through Running

When thinking about the muscles that are strengthened by running, most runners will think of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. While it is true that running does a great job of developing these muscles, many runners forget about the unseen, but most important muscle that running strengthens: the heart. Making the heart stronger through running helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate, which can help prevent heart disease.

Just as running trains leg muscles to propel runners faster, running also trains the heart muscle, also known as the cardiac muscle, to pump blood with less effort. In order for the body run fast, the heart muscle must be able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body’s muscles. Without an adequate supply of oxygenated blood, muscles such as the quadriceps and hamstrings will simply not have the fuel to propel the body at a fast pace. Therefore, with each training run, a runner trains the heat muscle to pump blood more efficiently.

The benefits of a stronger cardiac muscle include a lower resting heart rate because a stronger heart is able to pump a greater volume of blood per beat. Running also will assist in lower blood pressure by helping to keeping the arteries of the heart elastic. A lower heart rate and lower blood pressure are absolutely critical in keeping the heart healthy and preventing heart disease – a disease that is responsible for one out of four deaths in the U.S. per year.

While runners should take great pride in the effects that running has on strengthening their visible muscles, it is important to remember the tremendous effects that running has on an unseen muscle – the heart.


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