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Body figures

Body figures

HEALTH ·

How many years does our hair grow for? How much sweat do we produce? Bodily activity can be measured in figures, from the 100,000 heartbeats a day to the four weeks maximum that a suntan will last

Yolanda Veiga

Friday, 3 March 2023, 15:32

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Does our heart really beat faster when we see someone we like? Indeed it does, up to three times faster than usual. And it takes about four weeks for the suntan we acquire on our summer holidays to disappear. We grow in height until we are 21 years old, our body burns nearly 350 calories on an hour's gentle walk, our heart beats around 100,000 times a day and hair under our arms can grow for up to four months without stopping. And those are just a few of the figures and curiosities relating to our bodies. Interesting? Well, here are some more:

Sweat

Did you know that you can produce over 10 litres?

«Normally the sweat glands secrete between 700 and 1,440 millilitres a day, although if you are doing sport and it is a very hot day it can be as much as ten litres,» warns Javier del Boz, a dermatologist at Malaga's Regional University Hospital and vice-president of the Andalusian section of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology.

These figures are within the bounds of normality, but there are exceptional cases such as people who don't sweat at all or who do so excessively.

The first of these conditions is called hypohidrosis (or anhidrosis if there is a total lack of sweating) and it affects around one in every 200 people. The second, excessive sweating, is more common and around ten per cent of people suffer from it. There are problems associated with both.

«Sweating helps us to cool our body temperature and stops the body overheating, because that could cause everything from a headache to fainting. That's why not sweating is a serious problem,» says Del Boz.

And, on the other hand, «some people keep getting colds and pneumonia, partly because their clothes are always wet through due to them constantly sweating,» he says.

Height

Growth until the age of 21

Skin

Why does a suntan disappear so quickly?

Taste buds

From 10,000 at birth to 5,000 in later years

Hands and feet

Why do they go wrinkly in water?

Time for bed

About 20 degrees, please

Ears and nose

Bigger with age

«That is because they are made with cartilage and, over time, the collagen and fibres that make up the cartilage start to decompose. That, combined with gravity and the fact that the skin gets increasingly slack, produces an increase in the volume of the nose and ears. Also, with age, as we lose facial fat and, therefore, volume in the face, the increase in the size of the nose and ears becomes more noticeable,» explains Dr Teresa Arnandis.

Heart

100,000 beats a day

Movement and physical activity also cause an increase in cardiac frequency due to the body's greater demand for oxygen,» says Teresa Arnandis, who is known on social media as Lady Science.

Work those muscles...

... to burn calories

Nevertheless, it is not as simple as the muscle working by itself while we lounge on the sofa.

«It's true that the muscle mass burns more calories at rest than fat does, and therefore the more muscle mass we have the more calories we burn in general, but bear in mind that the extra output of several kilos of additional muscle is still low, it maybe only be between 50 and 100 calories a day.

The main difference comes when we activate this muscle mass with frequent exercise because the more we have, the more energy we will use during training,» says Marcos Vázquez, creator of the popular blog Fitness Revolucionario.

Breathing

The mirror test

The air that comes out of one nostril is always more than from the other, it's usually a proportion of 75% and 25%. This is due to the nasal cycle.

The air comes from one nostril rather than the other in cycles of about two hours at a time, and it alternates between the nostrils,» says Teresa Arnandis.

It means that one of our nostrils is always more active than the other.

Digestion

Why do stomachs rumble?

The contents move in the direction from the mouth to the anus, let's say, and that makes the food advance in the digestion process and the faeces that are formed reach the anus in order to be expelled.

Also, when there is no food inside us, those movements help to prevent secretions and bacteria accumulating in the intestine. When we haven't eaten there is more air in the intestine, and, as the peristaltic contractions take place, you hear the air bubble being pùshed forward.

«It isn't that the intestines move more when there is air inside, it's that there is less solid and liquid content and more air, so what we hear is the bubble they produce,» says digestion specialist Enrique de Madaria.

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