On an average, our heart beats @ 80 times/minute. Assuming an 80-year lifespan, your heart could beat 3,363,840,000 times (TRILLION) in 80 years! When you think about it, the average exercise work-out might be 30 minutes; imagine the 80-year heart workout! I tire just thinking of it. We ask a lot of our hearts, and faithfully they give back; hour after hour, year after year, decade after decade: the heart pumps away and we’re rarely aware of it.
The heart is a muscle with the principal function of maintaining a pulse. It maintains the pulse by way of a very tiny node in the heart which generates electricity, which, in turn, creates the pulse that we often call a heartbeat. I’ll use the two terms interchangeably.
Assuming that the pulse continues, everything else that the heart does, like maintain a blood pressure, is a result of maintaining the pulse. If the pulse slows down the blood pressure generally decreases and conversely, if the pulse speeds up, blood pressure rises.
Also, with every heartbeat, the heart pumps blood throughout the body; again, I’ll use blood pressure as my example; the less resistance the blood meets in its travels, the lower the blood pressure. In the same token, the more resistance the blood encounters as it travels, the higher the blood pressure.
What creates resistance? Small amounts of atherosclerotic plaque along the side of the blood vessels create a small occlusion vs. the much greater to complete occlusion of the vessels in severe coronary artery disease.
Faithfully, year after year the heart gives and gives, asking little in return, except that we nurture and take care of it. Like any other muscle, the heart needs an oxygen and nutrient supply. It needs a well-balanced diet of those nutrients. Some of the nutrients that help our heart run smoothly are CoQ10, Omega three fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats. Those might be salmon, flaxseed oil, avocados and olive oil, to name a few.
Making exercise a priority in our lives is good for our heart. A well-balanced diet is something we should always do as well and is the subject of many books. Other things that are good for your heart are keeping weight and blood pressure under control and eliminating smoking.