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I only have beats for you.

Hey, this is your heart talking. I'm down here--inside your chest. You can't see me, but you can feel me working. Put your hand on your chest. Can you feel me beating? That thump thump you feel is me. I beat about seventy times a minute. That's more than 100,000 times a day! I've been with you your whole life, and I'm the only heart you have. I have a very important job to do.

Did you know that I'm a muscle about the size of your fist? You have other muscles in your body, too. The muscles in your legs help you walk. The muscles in your face help you smile. All your muscles depend on me, and you, to keep them healthy and working well.

I pump blood all through your body. Each part needs fresh, healthy blood. Take a deep breath s, that your chest swells up like a balloon. When you breathe in fresh air, I squeeze myself together and pump blood into your lungs. The blood gets refreshed from the air you breathed in. Then I pump the blood through your body.

It takes less than one minute for the blood to travel around your whole body and return to me. When it comes back, I pump the used blood to your lungs for fresh air. Then it starts traveling all over again. This process is called circulation.

In order for me to be healthy, I need your help. You need to exercise. I pump about five liters of blood each minute, so I need to be strong! When you run, swim, walk, skate, dance, and ride a bike, you make me work harder and pump faster.

For a good workout, choose something that you like to do. Start by stretching or warming up your muscles. This helps them get ready to work. Then exercise for about twenty minutes. Finish by cooling down and doing more stretches. This helps your muscles relax. I need a good workout about every other day to get fit and stay fit. Make sure you ask your parents and your doctor if your fun exercise is OK for you to do.

If you live to be seventy-four years old, I will beat about 2.7 billion times during your life! I can't ride a bike or put on inline skates, but you can! Let's be a team to make a healthier you.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:how the human heart works
Author:Angier, Tamara
Publication:Humpty Dumpty's Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:403
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