There are many muscles in the body that people desire to exercise so they can look and feel their best. However, one of the most important muscles may be overlooked in terms of healthy living plans.

The heart is an essential muscle. Without it, life would cease to exist. It is vital to learn all one can about the heart in order to keep it healthy. Consider these facts about the heart and heart health:

Being inactive might be worse than smoking

Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that a sedentary lifestyle marked by sitting for long periods of time each day puts a person at higher heart health risk than smoking. Only about 40% of people are getting enough exercise to meet health guidelines. Even those who are exercising regularly should decrease sitting time throughout the day to improve heart health.

Fast heart rate can indicate age or gender

A newborn’s heart rate is around 70 to 190 beats per minute, and despite old wives’ tales regarding gender and heart rate, clinical tests have shown that there are no significant differences between male and female heart rates during pregnancy. The average adult has a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Athletes will have even lower resting heart rates. Women also have faster heart rates on average than men because their hearts are smaller in size and need to beat more to pump the same amount of blood.

Heart size

Having a large heart is often equated with being a compassionate person. However, a healthy adult heart is about the size of two hands clasped together. An enlarged heart can be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as coronary heart disease or high blood pressure.

Family history matters

Johnston Health says having a male family member under the age of 55 with heart disease or a female family member who is under the age of 65 with heart disease can double a person’s risk of developing heart disease.

Monday, Monday

Research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference found serious heart attacks are more likely to occur on a Monday compared to other days of the week. While it’s not fully known why, it may be linked to circadian rhythm disruptions. Mondays also may cause more stress.

Laughing helps

Laughter certainly may be the best medicine in many situations. Studies have shown that blood vessels relax when a person is laughing, which sends more blood through the body. Also, relaxed blood vessels mean the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the blood.