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The heart muscle



The heart is the motor of the circulation. It keeps the blood in motion and supplies the body (inner organs, muscles, and brain) with oxygen and all other essential substances by its pump function.
The heart muscle differs from the musculature of the musculoskeletal system in its function (see muscle guide).
Its characteristics are similar to those of smooth muscle tissue - as it can be found on the wall of intestine, bladder or stomach. It works involuntary and contracts about 70 times per minute under the influence of the autonomous nervous system. The electric stimulation is done via a heart-own supply system, whereby the contractions proceed rhythmically and slower than that of skeletal muscles (musculoskeletal system).
The thick muscle layer is a specialized muscle tissue, which can only be found in the heart. It forms the biggest part of tissue mass of the heart.

Our muscular pump consists of two cavities apart from each other, the right and the left heart half. They always have to be considered in connection with the cardiovascular system, whereby the important role for human beings gets clear.
The right heart half pumps the blood low in oxygen in lung circulation ("little circulation"), where it gets enriched with oxygen. Then the blood gets into the left heart half. Here, the blood rich in oxygen is transported into the body circulation ("big circulation"). 



The heart muscle

Both heart halves can be divided into four cavities: right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium, and left ventricle. Heart valves are situated in between the atriums and ventricles as well as the ventricles and the big vessels. Special occlusions, which work like a valve. 
Atriums and ventricles are kept separate by atrioventricular valves (AV valves), while heart valves, which are described as pulmonary valves, lie between ventricle and pulmonary artery (right heart half; pulmonary valve) as well as between ventricle and aorta (left heart half; aortic valve). 

Characteristics of the human heart (average values)

Position: in thorax to two thirds left of the Median line (this divides the body into two symmetrical halves)
Main function of the heart: „Pump“; supply the body with blood (nutrients and oxygen)
Size: approximately as big as your fist
Length: 15 cm
Weight: 300 g (about 0.5% of body weight; between 300 and 350 g)
Beat volume (BV): 70-80 ml
Heart minute volume (HMV) in rest: 4.9 litres
(amount of blood, which is pumped by the heart in a minute)
HMV for strong exertion: 20-25 litres

Regular, lasting exertions can cause an enlargement of heart muscle cells and an increase in weight of heart. The heart needs less beats to pump the same amount of blood into the body circulation and to supply organs, muscles, and the brain.
The daily amount of pumping of our heart corresponds approximately to the volume of a tanker. The heart pumps 6000 to 8000 litres throughout the day. This amount is necessary to supply organs with oxygen and nutrients. 

Do something good for your heart and try to improve your heart fitness with stamina training.

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