The name of the cardiovascular-respiratory system game is delivery of oxygen to the cells of the body. Oxygen is the
source of the consciousness of the cells of your body. Without it they die within minutes.
The purpose of this article is the development of aerobic habits in your life for the purpose of expanding your health and
vitality to a higher level. To develop and maintain aerobic habits, it is necessary to develop a body of knowledge of aerobics
and a body of aerobic attitudes.
With the exception of plants, blue-green algae and some primitive bacteria, all of which burn carbon dioxide for fuel, life as
we know it depends on oxygen to fuel its activities. Oxygen is one of the basic elements found on the periodic chart of
elements. It has an atomic weight of sixteen — reflecting the presence of eight protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus.
The source of oxygen in the universe is atomic fusion in stars. All elemental oxygen is created by fusion in stars with lighter
elements fused together to form heavier elements. In the fusion process, a small percentage of matter is converted to energy,
which is given off as heat, light, radio waves, x-rays, etc.
Eventually, a star of mass at least ten times the mass of our sun reaches a certain stage of its development, collapses, then
explodes to become what we call a super-nova. Super-novas release massive amounts of heavy elements into the
surrounding space, some of which eventually are attracted into the gravitational field of new stars forming from swirling
clouds of hydrogen and helium left over from the Big Bang. Among these heavy elements contributed to new solar systems is
Your body contains heavy elements derived from exploded stars, elements such as carbon, sodium, chlorine, silicone,
magnesium, iron, to name only a few and, of course, oxygen. You are, quite literally, a star, or at least you are made of
100% star stuff.
When life first evolved on the earth, the first organisms, blue-green algae, used the gaseous form of carbon dioxide for fuel.
The source of this CO2 was the earth itself which spewed forth massive amounts of carbon dioxide from volcanoes. This
CO2 was the result of the fusion of carbon and oxygen contained in molten lava rocks.
Carbon dioxide is a molecule of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. Organisms which we call "anaerobic" use carbon from
carbon dioxide to construct their cells and liberate oxygen as O2 , a gas which is, from their point of view, a toxic waste
product. To these early organisms oxygen was poison, and this became a problem over the next billion years as this toxic
waste product built up in the atmosphere of the earth.
These blue-green algae, and other evolved anaerobic organisms, banished themselves to the cracks and crevasses of the
world where they could escape the heavy concentrations of oxygen with which they themselves had poisoned the
atmosphere. There they remain to this day.
Meanwhile, aerobic bacteria had evolved. The first bacteria were anaerobic, burning CO2 for fuel. They were poisoned by
the advent of large quantities of O2. To survive, some bacteria figured out how to use oxygen as a primary fuel, and these
revolutionary organism, called "aerobes," released carbon dioxide as a byproduct of their metabolism. To the aerobes,
carbon dioxide is poison to the extent that it replaces necessary oxygen.
This happy development was a case of symbiosis: living in a condition of mutual benefit. The anaerobes breathe in CO2 and
breathe out O2. The aerobes breathe in O2 and breathe out CO2. Each makes continued life possible for the other.
You, of course, are an aerobe. You are busy breathing in O2 and breathing out CO2. You eat carbon atoms in the form of
plants, animals — and animal products, if you are not a vegetarian. You combine this carbon you eat with the oxygen you
breathe to make CO2.
The plants, anaerobic bacteria and blue-green algae of the world are glad you are here. They use your CO2 as fuel. You
should also be glad they are here. They supply not only the carbon necessary to construct your body but also the oxygen
which is the necessary fuel to carry out that construction.
This is one reason there is so much concern about the destruction of the rain forests. Without the green things of the earth,
we lose most of our source of oxygen, and most of the earth’s capacity to recycle carbon dioxide, the buildup of which traps
heat from the sun. This buildup favors global warming through the greenhouse effect, leading to melting of the polar ice-caps,
flooding of coastal areas and destruction of cities, farm land, etc. As an aerobe you have a big stake in this matter. It is
important for you to be conscious of, and understand thoroughly, the role of oxygen in the creation of your consciousness.
For you, oxygen is the breath of life.
The air you breath is twenty percent oxygen. The other eighty percent is nitrogen, carbon dioxide, a few trace gases like
argon, and a few other greenhouse gases derived from industrial processes. Ideally, only oxygen is absorbed into your body
from the air you breathe, although some toxic gases also are absorbed (e.g. carbon monoxide and methane).
Hemoglobin in your red blood cells is specifically designed to extract oxygen from the air. Only the oxygen in air is necessary
for life. The other gases are breathed out in the same concentrations in which they are breathed in, except for carbon
monoxide, which also is bound by hemoglobin.
If you take a trip to the countryside or to a forest, you can experience the "freshness" of the air. That freshness is a
concentration of newly liberated O2 from the plants in the area, relatively free of other gases. There you can experience the
sensual pleasure of breathing oxygen.
For further information about exercise and its relationship to your heart, follow this hyperlink: your relationship to your heart.
As concerns your lungs, follow this hyperlink: your relationship with your lungs. For information about anaerobic exercise
(pumping iron), follow: anaerobic exercise.