February is Heart Month: Tune it up!

The heart is the engine that circulates oxygen throughout the blood stream to keep the body vital. A continuous engine, the heart can run for more than 100 years without stopping. With an electrical current that’s not plugged into a wall, the heart is a self-contained energy source of complex cells. When working efficiently, the heart will beat on average between 60 and 90 beats per minute.

This constantly working engine supplies the blood’s oxygen through the body via vessels and arteries – very similar to a car’s engine moving fluid (gas and oil) throughout the vehicle so it can run.

For someone who lives to be 80 years old with an average heart rate of 80 beats per minute, the heart would beat more than 3.3 billion times! Cardiovascular exercise can help maintain the involuntary muscles of the heart so it can continue with a strong stroke volume to produce the strength necessary to regulate oxygen for life. While a car is taken for a tune up every three months or 3,000 miles to operate properly, cardiovascular exercise should be conducted weekly, if not daily, for the heart/engine to perform at a high level.

So, take a walk, go for a swim, or join a gym to “tune up” your heart “engine” today to ensure a smooth ride traveling through life.

Tom Purcell is Simon Family JCC’s wellness/fitness director. He may be reached at tpurcell@simonfamilyjcc.org.