Friday, May 27, 2016

The Dance

As we jogged along the trail,
huffing and puffing slightly, I 
asked my friends, What if we only
have a finite amount of heartbeats
allocated to us in a lifetime? Here
we are exercising to be healthy and
live a longer life, but what if we
are actually using up that
precious number of heartbeats?

Oh no, they laughed, let's hope
that's not true!

But as we discussed the idea
further, one thing became very
clear: there's a balance between
doing things to live longer ~ and
doing things to enjoy our lives
right at this moment.  

To really live.

A reader left me a comment with a 
similar idea on my last post, where
I talked about not denying ourselves
life's little pleasures. She
wrote that her grandma lived to be
100 and was still amazingly active
at 90, so she felt it was important
to calibrate both enjoyment and
abstention in a healthy way.

I couldn't agree more.

The friends that I was jogging
with have both experienced 
harrowing losses of loved ones in
their lives and know how quickly
life can be stolen away.  The
majority of us are not going to
make it to 100 with our bodies
and minds intact.

So we dance with the yin and the
yang in life ~ actions that will
help us to live longer and actions
that will make us feel like we
are truly living.

As to the question of finite
heartbeats, thanks to trusty old
Google, I found an answer.

We do not, in fact, have a finite
amount of heartbeats, but each
living species has an estimated
number, based on their average 
beats per minute and average
life expectancy.

For humans, that average is about
3.5 billion heartbeats in
a lifetime.*

And, good news: The extra beats
that our hearts must expend during
exercise are actually offset by
strengthening it (since the heart
is a muscle).  A stronger heart
results in lower beats per minute
when we aren't exercising, which
for most people, is the majority
of the time.


So get that heart pumping, but also
have the dessert that your kid 
proudly made and wants you to try,
or the ice cream cone on that first
90 degree day, or two slices of cake
on your birthday, or a glass of
champagne to toast the sunset.

We all know that our dance on 
this earth is finite.  So let's do
what we must to live long and well,
while still enjoying the little
treats that make our hearts sing
with the pleasure of being 



*An excellent article.

(all pics my own)