The human heart is not only a powerful symbol…it’s a powerful pump! In a 70-year lifespan, the average human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. This powerful muscle pumps vital oxygen, water and fuel to all parts of the body and carries waste away from the muscles after exercise. Our circulatory system has over 60,000 miles of capillaries, veins, arteries, and arterioles (small arteries).
The heart has 4 chambers. The right and left atria are on top and the right and left ventricles are on the bottom. Each valve has a chamber controlling blood flow. These valves open and close, sequentially, with each beat allowing blood to flow throughout the body.
The heart is a muscle and can be worked out like your other muscles through exercise. Sedentary lifestyles with no exercise will not only weaken your heart muscle, but could add an undue strain on your heart by it having to pump through thinner arteries. When we exercise, the heart pumps more blood to get oxygen to the muscles and carry waste away from them. This increased effort causes arteries to dilate (expand) and likely reduce the build-up of fat deposits on your arteries (cholesterol). When the arteries diameter decreases, the pressure increases (blood pressure). If you have high blood pressure and / or high cholesterol, consult your physician on ways to lower it. Chances are that your physician will likely prescribe a fitness plan as part of your solution.
A strong heart and clean circulatory system can also help you reduce the risk of having a stroke. While most of us associate strokes with the brain, a stroke originates due to a clogged or partially blocked artery leading to oxygen starvation in the brain. To learn more about your heart, check out the American Heart Association website.
Your cardio-circulatory system is a vital part of a healthy and happy life. Please take care of your most important muscle.