Turtle Heart vs Human Heart

Turtles have a  heart rate about 25 beats a minute. Steal away its oxygen and within six hours the heart rate drops to 10 beats a minute.  If that turtle is chilled, its oxygen-starved heart rate will drop to a very low one beat per minute.  Yet the turtle is still alive and healthy. Come warmer temperatures, it returns to normal activity and its heart rate perks back up to 25 beats per minute. And a typical pet turtle can live between 10 and 80 years or so while larger species can easily live over 100 years. Sea turtles typically live between 30 and 50 years, and some anecdotal record show that they could live up to 150 years.

Since this book is about mathematics as well as running it is time to make a simple calculation:

In an average lifetime, a heart will beat around 3 billion times.

Average life expectancy in the Turkey is 78.3 years and that the typical value for adult heart rate is between 60 BPM and 100 BPM; so let’s take the middle-range value of 80 BPM and go from there.

78.3 years= 3.292.358.400 beats.

After a while you start running RHR starts to drop even below 60 bpm. Elite athletes RHR may drop 30-40. For a medium level runners it may drop  down  to 55 with a  3 years of running history.

Now if we calculate how many years my heart is supposed to beat having  the same capacity which is 3.3 billions bpm is about:

3.292.358.400/55 = 110 years.

Resting heart rate seems to be a common denominator for various types of heart disease. A tantalizing possibility is that lowering your heart rate could help protect you from heart disease and may even let your heart beat for longer (Harvard Health, 2018).

In summary, exercise-related decrease of RHR may contribute to—or at least indicate—increasing life expectancy.