Know Your Body: The Heart

A scientific look at the (mostly) lovely complexities of your body’s most important muscle.

3 Heart

It Can’t Be Beat
Every minute, your heart pumps about eight pints of blood through a system of vessels that’s more than 60,000 miles long. All in all, that translates to a whopping total of about 2,000 gallons of blood each and every day. Take that, Big Oil.

It Gets Down
Despite the cliché, sex is extremely unlikely to give you a heart attack. A recent study found that, for a 50-year-old man who exercises regularly, the chances of a coronary during sex is just three in a million. So there’s no reason to slow down—even on your wedding night.

It Adapts to Change
The average man’s heart weighs 10 ounces, compared to the 8-ounce heart of the average woman. But women’s hearts make up for their smaller size with speed, beating eight more times per minute than men’s. You go, girl!

It Stresses Out
Chronic stress can beat your heart to a pulp. That’s because high blood pressure causes the heart to work harder—and when the heart works too hard for too long, it develops a fatigue that can ultimately lead to heart failure. So chill out, will you?