Walking and the Heart: The Whole Body Benifits

I have written several blogs on walking and several on the heart(Here and Here). But this one is on walking and the heart and how when the two are working together the whole body benefits.

The Heart

If we were to rank the parts of the body in regard to importance, the heart would rank no lower than number 2, the brain being number one. It might be argued that they should share the number one spot together. Nevertheless, the heart is a machine like no other in that it never takes a day off nor does it stop to rest and recoup. For the normal person it begins beating soon after conception and continues for beating from sixty to sometimes over a hundred years non-stop. Human beings with all the technology that we have developed have not been able to even come near producing a machine that can hope to rival the heart. I am not so stupid as to think that unguided evolution could ever come up with such an intricate and finely tuned machine as the heart. Only a mastermind of infinite knowledge could design and put together such an instrument.

Walking and the heart
Walk your heart healthy

Walking

Speaking of walking, the human being has been designed to be able to stand erect and to provide self locomotion by which he or she transports themselves about this creation. Walking used to be the main form of transportation before civilization began to grow and spread out over the Earth. Even then the prevalent means of getting about was walking. There was no great need to go many miles when the main source of food was agrarian.

As societies grew and people spread out the necessity of other types of travel became necessary. At first, it was animal power such as horses, oxen, mules, donkeys, wind, etc. As technology increased steam engines developed along with other fuels and engines and all kinds of vehicles were invented and developed. First the steam engine, then the internal combustion engine, then the jet and on and on. Probably the internal combustion engine brought about the biggest change to how much people walked. It was incorporated into the automobile. With its development and refinement society could really spread out now. But the spreading out did not cause more walking, it caused much less walking.

You might think you do a lot of walking, but compared to half a millennia ago we are practically standing still today.

The effect

You might wonder why heart disease is the leading cause of death in American society. Look no further than our transportation technology. One of the big reasons for that is because we no longer walk very much. ” What does that have to do with heart disease,” you may ask. And that is a good and fair question. Would not walking make it harder on the heart than sitting since it would raise the heart rate? It is true that walking does raise the heart rate. But is that really bad?

Wouldn’t it be easier on the heart to be seated in a comfortable seat and riding to a destination than having to walk a long distance and cause many more heart beats in the process? Another good question.

Two things to consider

If you are concerned that too many heartbeats will wear out that magnificent machine, worry no more.

The never stopping pump
The Blood Pump

Did you know that every seven years every cell in your body, and that includes your heart, that every cell in your body is replaced? In other words, every seven years you get a new body. “Then why don’t I stay young?” you may ask.

Well, there are these little things called telomeres in your DNA which connect the genes of your DNA together. Because our forefather, Adam, sinned he set in motion dying. The results of that “dying” is manifested in that every time our cells are replaced the telomeres die just a little. They become a little shorter each time the cell reproduces itself. The day comes when it is no longer viable enough to connect the genes of your DNA. When that happens, the cell dies. When your cell dies, your body dies.

But until those telomeres go, your heart will keep on working unless otherwise injured.

Second thing

Your vascular system was so designed so that the vein system(See here) is built with valves which allow the blood to flow only one direction. The arteries are not so designed. They will allow blood to flow either direction. The blood can only flow toward the heart in a vein, never away from the heart. In the typical human body the largest muscles are below the level of the heart. Therefore, the heart must exert not only enough pressure to push the blood through the arteries but must produce enough pressure to also push oxygen poor blood up the veins of the legs and groin and buttox and abdomen to get it back to the heart and then on to the lungs to pick up more oxygen. That is quite a load. When you are seated all those body parts are still below the heart and the heart still has to push it upward.

Back to walking

What happens when we walk, and I am talking consistent walking? The largest muscles in the body are employed when we walk. The quadracepts(thigh) muscle is the largest muscle followed by the gluteus maximus and the calf muscle is also of notable size. With these muscles working together and flexing and squeezing they become an effective machine in squeezing veins and forcing the blood to move back toward the heart. The can make it move even when the beat of the heart is in the negative. With their help the heart is relieved of some of the pressure it takes to push the blood through the body. Sure, it has to increase the speed at which it pumps to provide the oxygen for the fuel to work the muscles. But remember, it will get new parts every seven years. And it is such a magnificent machine. A Mercedes never was built that could even think of being compared.

Finally

I would encourage all who read this to try to begin some regimen of regular walking. Try to walk a mile a day. If you can not walk a mile, walk a half mile. The more you can walk the better it will be for you and your heart.

So when you consider walking and the heart, you must conclude that the whole body benefits.

God bless you and enjoy your walking.

 

12 Replies to “Walking and the Heart: The Whole Body Benifits”

  1. Hi Thomas!

    You really thoroughly described the importance of the heart here. It’s interesting how you mentioned the human technology and how we haven’t come up with anything that rivals the heart. It is pretty neat that it will beat consistently from birth until death!  I love walking, and reading this post was a great reminder to continue and even increase my walking habits. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad you got some inspiration to continue walking.  As I am sure you know, walking is not only good for the heart and body but for the mind and the spirit, too.  God bless you as you keep on keeping on.

  2. Hey Thomas, I loved your post. You made several good points in it especially when you emphasized the importance of walking. I love to walk and get exercise; I used to walk just about everywhere before I met my wife, but I still walk from place to place sometimes when I don’t feel like taking my car or if I want to save some gas. 

    You and I can both agree with the fact that cars do make people lazy, I’ve always thought that and that is why I walk because I think sometimes “what if I didn’t have a car at all?” Exercising is important and I’m glad that you and your post are great reminders of that. Great job!

    1. Thanks for your comment RJ.  I am thankful to live just out of the city and have enough land to get plenty of walking in.  Just to pick up my mail I walk almost a quarter of a mile round trip.

      Stay fit and keep up the walking.

  3. I can see that it is definitely true that as those added modes of transportation came into our existence, our need for walking definitely did decrease. The heart is like any other muscle in the body. In order to be strong it needs to work. If we just sat in a chair all day our leg muscles, abs, and arms would become soft and the muscles would not be strong. The same goes for our heart. When we walk and exercise, our heart rate goes up thus making the heart work a bit more than usual and making it stronger. I agree that everyone if possible should get out and try to walk at least a bit every day. I used to go out with friends at lunch time and we would do a couple laps around our building. Every little bit helps!

  4. Hi Thomas, Such a lot of great information on the working of the heart and how important walking is to keep it healthy. This is an article meant for me. Yesterday, I went to see my Doctor as my feet have begun to swell. 

    Yes, it is from all the sitting working on my computer. He advised me to walk more. 

    After reading your very, well written, informative and sage advice, I shall begin my walking program TODAY

  5. Hello Thomas, how are you?

    What wonderful blog you have here. I did no know that every 7 years our body changing replacing the cells and one of those cells is the heart. What a miracle inside us that we even not know.

    Agreed with you that walking is one the must complete exercise we can do.

    I am not a very good walker even before I had stroke and now is almost impossible. When I get well (God will cure me) for sure walk more is my number one priority.

    Keep up the good work and all success to you,

    Telma

     

  6. Hey Thomas! 

    As someone who recently stepped up their heath and fitness game recently this year, I especially appreciated this post. Walking is something I do on a treadmill 30 minutes on an incline total 2-3x a week for cardio. 

    The heart is something we take for granted as you described it beats until we are born until we die sixty to hundred years later. That IS an incredible technology and machine.I read somewhere today that the average person sits near 8 hours a day! It is no wonder that heart disease has risen since we stopped relying on walking so much.

    I’m glad you mentioned that the cells renew every 7 years and that the telomeres die off. Also, I’m glad you mentioned that the blood doesn’t flow as well when you sit more often as opposed to walking regularly. Thanks for the information!

    —Francesco

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