It beats day and night every day of our lives, but what does the heart really do for us?
Your heart, quite simply, is a pump. But it is one of the most fascinating pumps you’ll ever learn about. First you must understand that every cell in our body – from the cells in our hair to the cells in our toes need oxygen and nutrients to survive and keep us alive. Since they can’t get these nutrients themselves, blood is used to deliver them right to the cells (sort of like room service).
The basic job of the heart is pump that blood through your body so that the blood can deliver the oxygen and nutrients right to the cells. The heart keeps your blood pumping at all times as it picks up oxygen from your lungs and nutrients from your digestive system and sends them to all cells of your body. Your heart is the power behind the delivery system.
Inside the heart is four chambers. Two of those chambers send the blood up to your lungs to get oxygen, then the other two chambers send that oxygen rich blood to the rest of your body. Valves inside of the heart make sure that the blood only moves in one direction.
The younger you are, the faster your heart beats. A baby’s heart beats about 90 times a minute. A twelve year old heart beats about 78 times a minute and an adult heart beats about 70 times a minute. Of course the more active you are, the more your heart beats, since the cells need oxygen faster to keep you moving.