Do you pay attention to your resting heart rate?
If not, you should definitely consider doing so. In fact, to put it plainly, there is a linear correlation between increased resting heart rate, all-cause mortality and cardiac-related mortality.
A higher resting heart (80+ BPM) is usually an indicator of being out of shape, high inflammation levels, high LDL (bad cholesterol levels). Also, a high resting heart rate may be linked to higher anxiety and stress.
Much of this is likely a result of a sedentary lifestyle (sitting too much), poor stress management, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of quality sleep and poor diet (lots of refined, highly processed foods).
The good news is that putting even a moderate amount of effort into getting regular exercise (as little as 1 hour a week), can lower that resting heart rate.
Studies show that higher intensity exercise has a more significant effect on lowering resting heart rate than lower intensity, but both are beneficial.
Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week for best results.
Additional attention put towards a healthier lifestyle, such as:
- staying hydrated
- not smoking
- consuming less alcohol
- incorporating a multitude of veggies and fruits
- lower glycemic carbohydrates, along with omega-3 rich foods
- more quality sleep and stress management (meditation, avoiding highly stressful situations/relationships, going for massages and journaling, etc.)
will help reinforce a healthier, more efficient heart and body.
Some additional thoughts on the matter – a good analogy is a car. If you get in and start your car then push down the gas pedal while in park, you’ll burn more gas and increase wear and tear on the motor (high resting heart rate). Take your foot off the gas pedal and let the car idle, quietly. That’s more like a healthy body and heart at rest.
The bottom line is that your body will be more efficient and use less energy at rest as a result of making better lifestyle choices and making sure to get a few higher-intensity workouts a week.
This will also equate to a greater sense of overall well-being and likely more energy because your cardiac system will not be so taxed from normal daily activities.