My Favorite Muscle

February 24th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Corny, I know, and maybe I’m just trying to kiss up to it, but my favorite muscle is my heart.

First off, I love that I never ever think about flexing my heart muscle, or showing it off to anyone.  It looks the same whether it is wearing a nice shirt or a bathrobe.  My heart doesn’t care about looks, and for that alone, I love it.

The second reason my heart is my favorite muscle is that it is always the first to respond to whatever training I put myself through, over time.  My bicep has taken eons to show itself in comparison to the strength of my heart, which I demonstrate every time it beats.

I also love my heart because even though I never ever ever give it a break and it should really resent me for that, it still keeps working every minute of every day.  Even when I sleep my heart is taking care of me, and is even ready to beat faster if I have a nightmare.  No questions asked.

In return, I try to make things easy for my favorite muscle.

(I don’t want to paraphrase this so I’ll outright steal instead:)

Your heart is a muscle whose job is to pump blood. Exercise strengthens muscles and makes them larger. The left ventricle, a lower heart chamber, is especially likely to become larger, with thicker walls, in regular exercisers. This is so characteristic it is called “athlete’s heart.”

When your heart becomes stronger and larger it can push out more blood with each beat, so it doesn’t have to work so hard. If your heart pumps about 70 milliliters of blood per beat, and your heart rate is 70 beats per minute, you pump 4,900 milliliters of blood in a minute. After exercising for a while your heart improves, and can pump maybe 80 milliliters with each beat. To pump the same 4,900 milliliters per minute, it need beat only about 61 times per minute. It is not unusual for aerobically fit recreational athletes to have resting pulse rates in the 50s, or even in the 40s.

I work hard to appreciate my heart.  One of my favorite ways to appreciate my heart is to train it to work a lot harder so that it can do less work the rest of the time.  Treadmill Tuesdays are one of my heart’s favorite times: interval sprints on the treadmill at the treadmill’s maximum speed would not be possible if my heart didn’t work as hard, and as well, as it does.

It’s a pretty cool muscle, that heart of mine. 

I think I’ll keep hold of it for a while.

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