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5.1 Introduction

Elite athletes are aware of the importance of heart performance and blood flow and many have specific training programmes to increase the strength and efficiency of the heart. This is not, however, just something that impacts on elite athletes. Even those of us engaged in sport at an amateur level or just for recreation will have experienced the effect of sport on the heart. After intense physical activity our heart pounds and possibly our head pounds too from the blood that is being pumped t
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4.4 Maximum heart rate

The other part of an efficient heart is the maximum rate that it can beat. If we think about competitors in a race that takes about five minutes, the athlete whose heart can beat at 200 times per minute for five minutes will probably do much better than one whose heart can only beat at 180 times per minute.

This is linked to how much blood is pumped with each beat. If an individual's heart doesn't pump very much blood when they are resting, then the heart rate has to increase so
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2.5 What's this got to do with sport?

So, we've seen three ways of looking at the how the body works. This is useful science but what has this to do with sport? Do athletes really need to think about their bodies scientifically, or can they just get on and compete in their own sport?

Yes, athletes (or someone in their support team) really do have to think about their bodies in these ways. One obvious example is that athletes have to know what happens when they eat before a competition.

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1.9 Conclusion
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