Gravity is a vital force in the universe. Every single object in space has a gravitational pull, and so gravity is a force that works to influence the paths and direction of every single thing travelling through space.
If gravity works to pull everything and all objects, you may be wondering how this works in relation to you, and your body.
For starters, we know that gravity pulls things down on Earth, as when you throw something into the air, it drops because of gravitational pull. It is Earth’s gravity that keeps things on the ground, and will make things fall to the ground from above.
This is because anything that has mass, will also have gravity. Therefore, objects with a greater mass will have a greater gravity.
This is how Earth’s gravity is stronger than ours, as its mass is bigger, which is how we are pulled to Earth and we stand up on Earth’s ground, whereas we would float in space.
This begs the question as to how our internal organs can work against the power of gravity. One of the most vital questions that many often wonder is how can the heart be strong enough to pump blood up your legs against gravity?
Knowing the strength of Earth’s gravitational pull, you may be trying to figure out how our hearts can have enough power to pump blood up through the entire system against gravity, and why blood just wouldn’t be pulled down, too.
Luckily, with extensive research, we are here to answer this age old question.
How can the heart be strong enough to pump blood up your legs against gravity?
The best way to answer this question is to explain exactly how the heart works to pump blood around the body.
For instance, the heart does not work all by itself to pump your blood all around your body, as this would mean that there would be a lot of pressure in the areas around the heart, and much lower pressure at the furthest extremities of your body.
Instead, the heart pumps blood away from the heart, but it will have to come back from all areas in the body, and the legs, in order to be oxygenated once again after the oxygen has been taken by your cells.
If the heart was the only way blood pumped around your body, then there would be significantly less pressure in the legs, which would mean that the blood would struggle to return all the way back to the heart and lungs without extra help.
How does the heart get help to pump blood?
Therefore, there is a secondary system that helps the heart pump blood around the body. The secondary system involves a range of valves that are scattered along the various veins within your body.
This is largely down to the fact that there is much lower pressure in the veins, and the blood would need to return to the heart.
Therefore, the addition of these valves in the veins are actually essential to your body. These valves will work by closing when blood begins to flow back the wrong way, so that your blood can only then flow back towards the heart.
However, the body is an intricate system, and all components work together to keep you alive. It is therefore, not just the valves that have an impact on how your blood flows and your body functions.
The valves in your veins are triggered to close by the emergence of a potential backflow of deoxygenated blood, so this is prevented by the muscles in our bodies contracting.
Muscles in your body will contract naturally when you are moving, walking, standing or using your body in general.
It is the movement of such muscles that will cause contractions, which will then squeeze the deoxygenated blood along your veins, and flow it back up to the heart to be oxygenated again.
Therefore, your blood is pumped through your body in the right direction by a combination of the heart pumping the blood, and the valves closing in the veins to prevent blood from not going back to the heart, which is triggered by the muscles contracting when you move.
It is the combination of these three factors that helps to push the blood around your body in the correct ways to keep you alive, and these are what pushes the blood against the pull of gravity.
How does the blood keep flowing against the pull of gravity?
In some cases, your valves can stop working, and malfunction. This means that the valves in your veins would not prevent the backflow of deoxygenated blood, which means the blood would be traveling in the wrong direction.
This blood then pools and accumulates in the veins in the legs, which can cause swelling or what we now refer to as varicose veins.
Your body must work hard to keep the blood flowing against the pull of gravity, however, as we have evolved on Earth, our bodies are equipped to pump up against the pull of gravity.
If your valves fail to work, then the blood is pulled down the legs with gravity, which can cause the varicose veins.
The best way to keep your blood flowing against the pull of gravity, and to prevent getting varicose veins, is to exercise often so that your muscles contract and squeeze the blood around your body, in conjunction with the work of the valves.
If your body is relying on your veins alone, and not your muscles too, then this causes more of a strain, and your valves can succumb to the powerful force of gravity, causing them to fail.
If your muscles are active and working, then you are helping the flow of blood around the body, which is why exercise is essential to your body.
To summarise, the heart is an incredibly powerful organ in your body, which can pump blood all around the body.
However, the heart cannot pump blood back up to the heart by itself after it has reached the extremities.
The heart also relies upon the valves in your veins and your muscles to help flow blood in the right direction, and pump the blood back up from the legs, against the pull of gravity.