The heart is an incredible muscle,  it is about the size of your fist, and it pumps 7 litres of blood in one minute and 7600 litres per day. In a lifetime, it beats over 2.5 billion times and pumps over 200 million litres of blood.

Why is it important to understand how our heart works?

Often, what we can’t see loses its significance in the rush of daily life. Unfortunately, it is when something goes wrong that we realise the vital role the heart plays in our body.

When we exercise and “get our heart rate up”  the heart can double the amount of blood it pumps around our body.

We breathe faster with exercise so that the blood can be oxygenated by our lungs quickly and pumped back to the muscles efficiently.

When the body is exercising the muscles are consuming about 80% of the blood flow, but when we are sedentary, only 10% gets to the muscles.

The heart is a living and regenerating machine; it relies on the body’s movement to retain its ability to pump effectively.

What happens to the heart when it is exercised?

When the heart is exercised, it becomes stronger. It means that at rest,  it can beat slower because less effort is needed to pump blood around the body.

Think of it like pumping up your bicycle tyres and you only have a minute.

If you are strong then you can depress the pump further and don’t need as many pumps to inflate the tyres.

But if you don’t have the strength, then you must use a series fast short pumps to inflate the tyres in that minute.

A strong heart increases the blood flow throughout the body and the benefits are extraordinary.  These are a few:

  • Improves cholesterol and fat levels
  • Reduces inflammation in the arteries
  • Helps manage weight fluctuations
  • Keeps blood vessels flexible and open
  • Regulates insulin for people with type 2 Diabetes
  • Improves memory and attention span


Our workouts are designed to get the heart rate up and blood pumping in 28 minutes. We use weights to increase the intensity and breathing rate.

What are the official government exercise recommendations?

The Department of Health’s physical activity guidelines are as follows:

  • Doing any physical activity is better than doing none.
  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week

Our Shape-UP workout would be considered vigorous and muscle strengthening.

Therefore if you are attending 2x Shape-UP classes per week you have meet Government recommendation for strength training.

Also, you will be 56 minutes into your weekly vigorous exercise requirements. If you top this up with one very fast 20 minute walk, your weekly exercise is done!!

How much exercise do you need? The simple exercise formula per week is:

2 x Shape-UP Classes + 20 minute very fast walk

Our  golden rule for exercise is to do what you can consistently.

Our 9 minute circuit  done daily will give you 63 minutes of vigorous exercise. Then you only need one 15 minute very fast walk per week to exceed the government exercise recommendations!

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Live well with fitness!