do you think of emotions like courage, heartbreak, love? Valentine's Day chocolate??
Years ago, I was a happy kid with a strawberry cobbler at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida. I listened as the country band on stage poked fun at how we use the word heart. "Every time you hear 'heart' in a love song, you should just replace it with 'pump.'" The band broke into a cheerful remix- "Don't break my pump, my achy breaky pump." It's one of those odd memories you never forget...
Most only know the heart as a pump that keeps us alive. But what does the heart really do?
Imagine the Little Engine That Could in your body
February is American Heart Month. We're flooded with info on heart attacks, strokes, cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart failure- things that aren't great for your life or business.
We'll get to those in coming weeks, but you should first be amazed with how the heart works normally. You'll also gain the wellness perspective that lets you value everyday health habits like food and exercise. This makes it easier for you to be more productive and enjoy the reasons you work... instead of netting medical bills and premature death.
This week, I want to highlight just how special that little pump is.
OO! Not this Lil Pump.
The heart is my favorite organ:
At an "average" of 75 beats per minute, it beats 5 times in 4 seconds- around 100,000 times per day. 35 million times/year, and 2.5 billion times over an average lifespan.
It takes signals to speed up or slow down based on changes in body position and activity so you don't pass out
Your heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood per day
It has been beating your entire life (no days off or naps)!
Your body replaces less than 50% of its heart cells over a lifetime- both amazing substitution AND longevity
A crucial fact most people don't recognize is your heart also uses blood, supplied by small vessels called coronary arteries. Breaking or blocking these vessels causes serious problems. Your heart will fail or die without circulation, so things that protect your blood vessels also protect your heart!
6 Tips to Protect Your Heart Health
Exercise 22 minutes every day (walking counts)- keeps your blood vessels flexible
Eat fruits and vegetables daily- antioxidants save your heart and blood vessels from damaging oxidative stress
Don't smoke- smoking damages blood vessels
Sleep 7-9 hours each day- allows blood vessels to repair
Blood pressure checks at least once every 2 years. High blood pressure has no symptoms, but causes blood vessels to lose their shape and/or break
Cholesterol checks every 5 years, or as recommended by your doctor- high cholesterol, also without symptoms, can lead to clogged arteries and blockage
Bonus- Nature vs Invention: The Heart
Sometimes, I compare technology to the natural wonder of the body (I'm okay with my nerdiness). They're both incredible!
Patients waiting for heart transplants can use an artificial heart. AbioCor's artifical heart is about the size of two hearts, so it won't fit children and many women. The external battery, held in a fanny pack, can be disconnected for up to 45 minutes.
So many parts!
In cases of terminal heart failure, artificial hearts can last 2-5 years before needing replacement. A 2017 silicone heart model that closely mimics the natural heart only lasted about 3,000 beats, or around 45 minutes. Talk about achy breaky pumps!
How long has your heart been working without complications? Show it some love!
Please share if you like this post or learned something cool!
Reggie Wilson is the founder of Fit for Freelance. He's a certified worksite wellness program manager, certified online trainer etc., but he most wants every entrepreneur to know how to lead the healthy, fulfilling life of their dreams. Read more about him here