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Why Doesn't Your Heart Get Tired Like Other Muscles?

Exercise for Heart Health

Story at-a-glance -

  • Mitochondria make up, on average, about 1-2 percent of your skeletal muscle by volume, but this is generally enough to provide the needed energy for your daily movements
  • Whereas your skeletal muscle contains only 1-2 percent mitochondria, your cardiac muscle may contain up to 35 percent
  • This large volume of mitochondria supplies a steady source of energy right to your heart, and explains why your heart rarely needs to “rest” like your skeletal muscles do
  • Extreme endurance exercise significantly increases cardiac output, which may put excessive strain on your heart depending on the duration and intensity of your activity
  • Over-exercising, such as marathon running, may not make your heart feel tired like your other muscles, but it can cause scarring, inflammation, and other heart damage

By Dr. Mercola

After a vigorous workout, the muscles in your legs and arms may be fatigued and possibly sore. But have you ever wondered why your heart, which is also a muscle, doesn't feel similarly "tired"? The reason has to do with the three different types of muscle – skeletal, smooth, and cardiac -- and how they derive energy from your body.


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