Another colonoscopy and laughing at my old heartbeat theory

Posted By on May 3, 2022

My dad was known for saying he was planning to live to 160 years old and I’m following in his ridiculous longevity theories and his questionable HeartRatesFitbit220429medical advice (he died at 86 in 2015). Years ago I jokingly theorized that when Jesus told us thatIndeed, the very hairs of your head are numbered” (Luke 12:7) … then it was obvious to me that indeedthe number of heartbeats are numbered as well. Thankfully that number would only be known to God, but I’ve always pondered wasting “beats” and trying for a little less stress in life and embracing more laid-back relaxation.

Now that I’ve been wearing a Fitbit Versa for years (above), I have a pretty good idea how rapidly I’m churning through beats … and know that they are limited. Even from a more medical science based perspective (and some personal experience), we know and understand that “mechanically” our self-repairing human body does wear out. Of course there’s the “aerobic exercise makes the heart stronger theory too.” 😉

Does a human heart have a finite number of beats?


At an average of 80 beats per minute, most of us will manage less than four billion beats in our lives. But you don’t die because you run out of heartbeats – you run out of heartbeats because you die.

Among mammals, the number of heartbeats over the lifespan of different species is fairly constant. So hamsters’ hearts beat 400 times a minute and they live for about four years, which is 840 million beats, and an elephant manages 35bpm for 35 years, or about 640 million beats total. Those numbers are similar, but that’s just because animals with faster heart rates are also smaller and more at risk from predation and starvation. Their lifespans have evolved to compensate for this by reproducing early and often – they ‘live fast, die young’. Heart muscle can only repair itself very slowly, so eventually every heart will wear out but not after a specific number of beats.

Science Focus

My questionable heartbeat theory aside, I did finally get my pandemic delayed colonoscopy last month and the gastroenterologist gave me a better report than I was expecting … considering my previous two had a few polyps. So at least now he is comfortable moving my next colonoscopy out a few more years. So for now, it is back to keeping my heart healthy and cholesterol in check.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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