I am fascinated with my heart. It’s amazing how it continuously beats away without a thought from me. I will admit that I have tried to imagine what it looks like. It’s been working away for a long time now. Apparently, it’s as big as my fist. That is the reason for my fascination. I have small hands. How can this little thing do so much!
The heart acts as a pump that supports every one of our body functions by taking nutrients to where they need to go, and removing waste byproducts. It is made up of muscle fibre. As with any muscle in our body if it’s not exercised it will weaken. Weakened hearts are prone to disease. Of coarse, that is a general statement. There are exceptions where young, strong and/or fit people have suffered from or even died from various heart conditions. My point is this; we feel better physically when our hearts are functioning well. That point, and the fact we reduce the risk of heart disease, should be enough to get us moving and keeping that very important muscle strong.
The heart is made up of four chambers. The two top chambers are known as atria, and the bottom two chambers are ventricles. On the right side of the heart the blood comes into the atrium from the body, is then spilled into the right ventricle where it is pumped to the lungs to get more oxygen. On the left side, the oxygenated blood from the lungs enters the atrium, spills into the left ventricle, and is then pumped to the body. Through an incredible system of arteries, veins, capillaries, and valves (the circulatory system) everything gets to where it needs to go. How well it gets there is dependent on our heart health.
Check your heart rate right now. To find your pulse place two fingers on the inside of your wrist or on the side of your neck should do it. Set a timer for 60 seconds and starting counting the beats. A rate of 40 – 60 beats per minute is a good number for a fit adult. If you’re finding it difficult to find your pulse or the number is high there is room for improvement. The stronger your heart is, the less it has to work to push the blood around your body.
Regular cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart muscle. That’s the type of activities that gets us huffing and puffing. Walking (add a hill or two), running, cycling, and swimming are all great. Nutrition is equally important. We know that already. Feed yourself vegetables and fruits to pack in the valuable nutrients that make our bodies truly happy. Lastly, be sure to get enough sleep. Your heart never takes a break, but if the rest of your body does it will slow down too.
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