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I only have beats for you.

Hey, you out there! 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 of your muscles depend on me, and you, to keep them healthy and working well.

I pump blood all through your body. Each part of your body needs fresh, healthy blood. Take a deep breath so 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! Does exercising sound boring to you? I bet running, swimming, walking, inline skating, dancing, and biking don't sound boring! When you do some of these things, you make me work harder and pump faster.

For a good workout, choose something that you would have fun doing. 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. But wait! Make sure your fun exercise is OK with your parents and your doctor before you start.

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! When we work together as a team, we make a healthier you.
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Author:Angier, Tamara
Publication:Humpty Dumpty's Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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