Kids Health

Kids-health is a site packed with hints and tips to keep you and the family healthy.

A Healthy Heart

football is excellent for a healthy heart


One thing that always makes me giggle are the Valentine’s Day cards that say “You have my heart” or something equally daft. The truth is, no one really has your heart – You have it and it’s safely beating away in your chest because you need it! Here’s why:

  • Your heart is in your chest and beats continually, even when you are sleeping.
  • It pumps blood around the body through a network of veins, arteries and capillaries.
  • The thing that makes your heart beat is electricity. It is a very mild pulse that makes the muscles of the heart contract and relax.
  • A child’s heart beats around 90 times a minute.
  • Blood takes about 1 minute to travel around the body.
  • Your heart beats about 100,000 times in one day and about 35 million times in a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.
  • Your heart is made up of 4 chambers, 2 of them pump oxygen-rich blood around the body and 2 of them send blood back to the lungs to pick up more oxygen.
  • The route the blood takes is from left ventricle through the aorta to take oxygen around the body, then back to the right ventricle then through the pulmonary artery to pick up oxygen from the lungs. Then blood returns to the left ventricle of the heart again and the journey repeats.

diagram of the heart

Keeping a Healthy Heart

Evidently, your heart muscle is very important – if it didn’t work then neither would you! And, it has alot of work to do. Imagine 2 and a half BILLION beats in a lifetime, with absolutely no rest whatsoever – phew! It is important to look after your lovely heart so it will keep beating healthily for many years. Here are some tips:

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Now this doesn’t mean just taking a gentle stroll around the playground. It means actually exercising enough to get you out of breath and a bit sweaty. So running around after a football or basketball counts. Skipping with a rope is also excellent, and vigorous dancing, swimming and cycling is also really good.
  • Eat the right foods. Too many greasy, fatty foods can cause your heart problems. You see, greasy food can cause your blood and sticky fatty plaques to cling to the tubes that carry your blood round. This can cause a blockage when you get older and that might lead to a nasty heart attack. Your heart might stop working. Your heart likes plenty of fruit and vegetables and lots of healthy whole grain cereal, and protein. It doesn’t like fried foods or high fat foods like cakes and biscuits. Check out the ‘Eat Well’ pages under ‘For Kids’.
  • Make the right choices when you get older by not smoking and keeping your weight down. Your heart doesn’t like cigarettes and if you are overweight then it has to work too hard getting the blood around your bigger body.

So the next time you see a soppy heart Valentine’s message, just remember, your heart is for loving and living!

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