Fitness/Health: Exercise Doesn’t Waste Heartbeats, It Saves Them
“You appear to have saved six million heart beats 
since your last checkup!”
“You appear to have saved six million heart beats since your last checkup!”

Fitness/Health: Exercise Doesn't Waste Heartbeats, It Saves Them

Dick Moss, Editor

An old excuse for avoiding exercise is that the heart has only a fixed number of beats in its lifetime, and exercise uses up these heartbeats at a faster rate.

In fact, exercise strengthens the heart, which will help it to last longer. So the fixed number of beats argument is on shaky ground in the first place.

But even ignoring this fact, exercise can actually reduce the consumption of heart beats over a lifetime.

How Exercise Reduces Heartbeats
As we know, exercise gradually lowers the resting heart rate. For example, the average person's resting heart rate is 72 beats per minute, while the average runner's heart rate is 58 beats per minute.

By lowering the resting pulse, exercise will save heartbeats. Here's how, according to A. E. Cody, in a Runner's World article.

The Calculations

  • Over the course of a day, the runner's heart will beat 3,480 times, while the average person's heart will beat 4,320 times.
  • Over the course of a year, the average person's heart will beat 37,843,200 times, while the runner's heart will beat only 30,484,800 times.
  • The extra beats used up during exercise (for example, four 30-minute exercise sessions at 160 beats per minute), might total 636,480 per year, which gives an exerciser a total of 31,121,280 heart beats per year

So exercising saves 6,721,920 beats per year. Not only will a fit person's heart be stronger and last longer, it will beat fewer times over a lifetime!          
         
References:
1. “Getting more miles from your heart.” Active Living, November 1994. Originally from A. E. Cody, Runner's World, July, 1994.
2. Dr. Sonia Kakar, Little Book of Good Health: Facts, Tips and Habits [Kindle Edition], Orient Publishing, 2012.



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