Three billion heartbeats

Thanks to a great video in The Guardian, I now know that we humans have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime. Even if the rest of our bodies could escape aging and could function indefinitely, our heart muscle quits after beating three billion times.

They say nobody knows the day and hour of her death, but for me, knowing the number of heartbeats in a lifetime comes close. It is the specificity of the number that gets to me.

That very specific number made me wonder whether an athletic person, who regularly engages in activities that increase heart rate, is in effect using up his allotted number of heartbeats more quickly. But then a friend pointed out that an athlete’s resting heartbeat is slower than a non-athlete’s, so that probably averages out. And we all know that exercise has tons of benefits for all kinds of bodily systems.

Prof Michael Shattock of King’s College London¬†certainly packs a lot of information into his eight minute video, and I thank him for it, even if some of what he said was too technical for me to follow. The video is worth a couple of listens to try to understand everything he’s saying.

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