Matters of the heart

Matters of the heart

What do you really know about your heart?

In your lifetime your heart will beat around three billion times and pump enough blood to fill 5,500 large swimming pools!  Your heart never gets tired.  It works very hard to pump blood around your body.


You might think that your heart is on the left side of your chest, but it is in the middle of your chest. It is about the size of your fist. This may seem quite small, but your heart is one of the most powerful muscles in your body.  Your heart is so powerful that it can squirt blood out to 10 metres!

Your heart has to work hard because blood takes oxygen everywhere in your body.  The heart is made of two pumps.  The right side pumps the blood to the lungs to get oxygen.  Then the left side gets the blood and pumps it all round the body.

Our hearts normally beat 72 times a minute - that's quite a lot when you think about it.  Compared to this a blue whale's heart only beats 6 times, and a hummingbird's heart can beat around 1000 times a minute. But a hummingbird's heart is only the size of a grain of rice; the heart of the blue whale is the same size as a car!

Did you know? Octopuses and squid have three hearts!  They have two hearts which pump blood to the gills.  The third heart pumps blood to the rest of the body.