Human Body

What does the heart do?

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We all have hearts. All people have them and most animals do too! It is a very important organ (a part of our bodies,) and it is in charge of pumping the blood through all of our veins and arteries.

If we didn't have a heart, our blood wouldn't move. It wouldn't pick up oxygen from our lungs, and it wouldn't pick up nutrients from our digestive systems. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to every part of our body, so that all of our parts can grow and be healthy!

Our hearts work without us having to think about them. If we fall asleep, our hearts keep beating, and they keep our blood moving.

We only have one heart each, so it's important to keep them healthy. Exercise is important for heart health. Eating right is important too! Oatmeal is one food that's very good for the heart, and it's also a tasty breakfast!

Exploration

Rhythm of the Beat

The average (or most regular) heartbeat for people is 72 beats per minute. Different animals have different numbers of beats per minute. A hummingbird's heart, for example, can reach up to 1,240 beats per minute!

Can you find your pulse? Our pulse is our heartbeat that we can actually feel. A good way to find it is by feeling the underside of your wrist with your index finger and your middle finger. Your pulse tells you how fast your heart is beating. You can actually count the number of times it beats in a minute.

After you've found your pulse, try doing some light exercise, maybe a few jumping jacks, and then afterward, feel your pulse again. Is it faster, slower or the same? Why do you think that is? Remember our body needs blood to work, so if we work harder, we'll need blood circulated (sent around our bodies) more often!

Sources

Encyclopdia BritannicaThe Human Heart. 2010. The Franklin Institute.