Exercise and Your Heart

Posted by Blog Sunday, February 20, 2011

Just for a moment, suppose you’ve become a member of a highpowered health club. You set up an appointment with a fitness specialist and ask him or her to design a training program that will enable you to lift a seventy-pound weight the distance of one  foot. No problem, says the trainer—until you add that you want to be able to repeat the feat once a minute all day long. At this point you may be offered a full refund, possibly with a kind referral to a psychologist. Even Arnold’s biceps would balk, but you are far from crazy. In fact, you have a muscle that is performing an equivalent amount of work right now, and it will go on working at that level for every minute of your life. That remarkable muscle is your heart.

Although it is no bigger than your clenched fist, your heart is able to pump more than two thousand gallons of blood through sixty thousand miles of blood vessels each day. To do this, your heart beats more than one hundred thousand times each and every day of your life.

Your heart is incredibly strong, but exercise training will make it stronger and more durable. A healthy heart pumps about five quarts of blood a minute while you are resting quietly. When you dash to make that bus, your heart rate may double or even triple, and the remarkable little muscle will pump out up to twenty quarts of blood a minute. Diseased hearts can’t match this performance, but exercise-trained hearts can do much more. At maximum effort, an athlete’s heart can pump up to forty quarts of blood a minute, and it can sustain a high workload for much longer than the unconditioned heart can.

How does regular exercise help your heart? Like your other muscles, your heart muscle gets larger and stronger with exercise. Exercise also makes the heart muscle more efficient, so it needs less oxygen for itself. Exercise training helps human hearts resist arrhythmias, including the abnormal pumping rhythms that can lead to sudden death. And moderate exercise will earn all of these heartfelt improvements for you.

More About Exercise:

Exercise, your body,and your Health

Exercise and Your Body


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