Lowering your resting heart rate could fight off early death

resting heart rateCC: Jamie Street at Unsplash

When you finally get the chance to sit down and relax after a long day, your heart rate should slow to a steady pace. The figure you see on your fitness watch represents your resting heart rate. While looking at this number, you may not realize the figures in front of you might also predict the time of your death.

Although your resting heart rate won’t lead you to the exact day of your demise, new research suggests it will tell you if you’re to die early. A study from Sweden, focusing only on men, found that a resting heart rate of 75 or more doubles your risk of early death.

With the new evidence in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if you now choose to lower your resting pulse. And if you make the right steps toward doing so, your health could change for the better overall.

Lower your resting heart rate by exercising more

You don’t need to delve far into cardiovascular medicine to see that athletes have a lower than average resting heart rate. Fortunately, you don’t need to reach Olympian-style levels of fitness to reduce yours.

As you exercise, you’ll notice your heart rate increasing. This happens because your muscle cells are crying out for oxygen and glucose, so your heart needs to rush blood to them to meet their demands. As your heart is a muscle itself, the harder it works over time the stronger it gets. With a regular commitment to exercise your resting heart rate lowers as each pump your heart makes is more effective.

If you’re ready to add exercise to your schedule, pick something you know you can handle. For example, if you suffer from joint pain the buoyancy of water while swimming makes fitness more feasible.

Start tackling your stress levels

When you go through periods of stress your body responds the only way it knows how: increasing your adrenaline and cortisol levels. While adrenaline and cortisol prove useful when you need to move rapidly to avoid a car, in the long-term they make your resting heart rate soar.

As you probably know, reducing stress isn’t always simple. A good starting point involves sitting down, writing down what causes your stress, and considering whether you can remove the stressors from your life. For example, is your boss open to occasional remote working so you can avoid a long commute?

When you can’t remove stressors, consider lowering your resting heart rate with meditation. When you become adept at meditating, your heart rate decreases. Over time, this could translate to other health benefits.

Lose weight, if you need to

If you’re aware that you’re carrying extra timber, now’s the time to drop it. Being overweight, obese, and underweight all increase your resting heart rate.

Dropping your weight into a normal range becomes easier when you start exercising to bring your pulse rate down. If you combine your efforts with a healthy diet, your objective becomes even more realistic. To make your efforts go even further, consider adding cardioprotective foods to your diet, too.

The latest research into resting heart rates and early death should act as a prompt to revitalize your lifestyle. In addition to more exercise, a healthier weight, and less stress, consider getting more sleep.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.