- Your resting heart rate is one factor used to identify potential health conditions and gauge the health of your heart; by maintaining your resting rate from 60 beats per minute you lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health
The Big Q: What does your resting heart rate say about your level of fitness and health?
The Big A: Your resting heart rate is a factor used to identify potential health problems and gauge the health of your heart.
Dr. Jason Wasfy from Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, affiliated with Harvard University, commented on what your resting heart rate says about your cardiovascular health: In certain cases, a lower resting heart rate can mean a higher degree of physical fitness, which is associated with reduced rates of cardiac events like heart attacks. However, a high resting heart rate could be a sign of an increased risk of cardiac risk in some situations, as the more beats your heart has to take eventually takes a toll on its overall function.”
Complications associated with a high heart rate include low energy levels, weakness, lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting. A high resting heart rate may be associated with chest pain, difficulty breathing, poor circulation, weakness and cardiovascular events such as heart failure, heart attack or stroke.
If you experience a spike in your heart rate when you are not active, it might be an indication you are dehydrated, have a fever, are stressed or that you’ve consumed too many caffeinated drinks. Your heart rate is useful in determining your overall health and well-being.
Tracking your heart rate does not mean you have to keep your finger to your wrist. Current fitness trackers offer the ability to keep tabs of your resting rate throughout the day, as well as your sleep habits and a number of other health variables.
Simply put, your resting heart rate measures how many times your heart beats per minute (bpm) while you are at rest.
While 60 to 100 bpm is a normal range, cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg of NYU Langone Health considers 60 to 80 bpm optimal. In one 10-year study measuring resting heart rate, researchers found that those with 70 bpm or less had a reduced risk of death compared to those with 70 to 85 bpm.
The best time to check is first thing in the morning since a change in activity level, body position and hydration all affect the measurement. Other factors that may influence the rate include genetics, aging, exercise and medications.
Check your resting heart rate several times each week to watch for trends.
Consider using the ways listed below for lowering your resting heart rate, thus reducing your potential risk of a cardiovascular event, as follows:
Stress and anxiety place unhealthy demands on your cardiovascular system. Chronic stress is linked with a negative impact on your heart health.
There are several ways to relieve stress.
Walking outdoors in Green areas may be soothing. Sleeping with a weighted blanket may help you relax and fall asleep more quickly.
Deep breathing exercises may help lower your resting heart rate and meditation can help reduce stress. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise incorporating some of these strategies, including breathing techniques, meditation and stretching.
Yoga is useful to runners and swimmers because it helps improve performance and prevent injuries.
Tai Chi is a 3rd option that helps improve balance, strength and flexibility. Benefits of Tai Chi include improved cognitive performance, increased brain volume and reduced stress.
There are several things you consume that impact your heart health and resting heart rate.
- A diet high in sugar, carbs, fructose and deep-fried foods adds stress.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help improve heart function.
Both animal-based and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids are vital to your health. Ultimately, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential and ideally should be consumed in a ratio of 1-to-1.
Unfortunately, the average ratio is 20-to-1 to 50-to-1. Omega-6 is primarily found in oils used in processed foods. Animal–based omega-3 fats may be safely found in wild-caught Alaskan salmon and sardines.
Dietary fiber also plays a role in overall health, as it helps your digestive tract work efficiently. It is better to get fiber from fruits and vegetables than grains and legumes. Fruits and vegetables also offer vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
Catechins found in tea have cardiovascular protective properties and help reduce cognitive decline associated with aging and amyloid plaque development in Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to paying close attention to your nutritional intake, it is important to stay hydrated. When you become dehydrated, it requires more work by the heart to stabilize blood flow.
It is especially important to stay hydrated while exercising. Fluid loss raises your heart rate. Limit your intake of stimulants and depressants. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants that may increase the workload of your heart.
On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant that dehydrates the body and increases the workload to process and remove it.
To lower your resting heart rate and improve your heart health overall, cut out cigarettes and e-cigarettes as they deliver toxins and chemicals with a negative effect on your heart, respiratory system and other organs.
Obesity is a Key cause in many health conditions, including those related to the heart. It has long been associated with metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and is known to contribute to ventricular and atrial enlargement as well as hardening of the arteries.
Weight management is a common challenge you may similarly address using strategies to reduce your resting heart rate.
Factors such as exercise, sleep, hydration, stress reduction and your gut health are all contributors to reducing your heart rate and waistline.
So, along with getting good sleep daily…
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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