Updated: Sep 16, 2019
We associate hearts with love and kindness, but how kind are you to your own heart? It's easy to take hearts for granted and yet they sit at the very centre of our existence, faithful servants keeping us alive through thick and thin.
Hearts thrive when we are kind and caring both to ourselves and others. The feel good chemicals that our bodies produce in response to kind and caring acts, gentle intimacy, and smiling and laughing together act directly on the heart to keep it healthy.
It also helps if we take the time to learn a bit more about this amazing muscle of ours that pumps life through us, from our early days in the womb to our final moments of life.
Here are 10 quick facts to get you better acquainted with your own beating heart:
1. Your heart is the size of a fist
2. It beats around 115,000 times each day pumping in the region of 2000 gallons of blood
3. It takes around 20 seconds for your blood to travel round your body and back to your heart
4. The right side of your heart pumps the blood out full of oxygen from your in-breath, the left side receives it back containing carbon dioxide ready to breathe out
5. A normal resting heart beats between 50 and 90 times per minute
6. Your largest blood vessel (aorta) is the size of a garden hose, the smallest(capillary) is smaller than a human hair
7 .Damage to your heart reduces pumping power meaning that it has to work harder
8. Your blood vessels added together would be 60 -100,000 miles long
9. Christmas Day and Monday mornings are common times for heart attacks to occur
10. Your heart is rich in nerve cells and is in continuous communication with your brain providing information about the state of your body
What can you do to be kind to your heart?
The heart is kept healthy by both regular high energy movement and frequent, gentle continuous movement.
When you are stressed your body is producing chemicals and electrical signals that act on the heart thus putting a strain on it. The heart responds well to deep relaxation, meditation, absorbing activities, regular adequate sleep, and making the necessary changes to make life stresses manageable.
Find the right fuel!
Your heart muscle has to produce a continuous stream of energy and to stay strong and adaptable throughout your life. Just like the rest of your body your heart is made of what you eat. The best heart-healthy foods provide a steady stream of efficiently produced energy and all the nutrients to provide the building blocks of muscle. Easily accessible heart-friendly whole foods include fish, (especially oily fish like sardines), mackerel, nuts, berries, flaxseeds, oatmeal, kidney/black beans, spinach, oranges, cantaloupe melons, asparagus, tomatoes, dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) and broccoli.
Finally find some loving feelings- your heart thrives on being around people you are closely connected to, kind social interactions, kind thoughts, big smiles.....
Now , go and love your yours...