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Evidation Highlights
May 24, 2023

Agreeableness and Your Health

3 minutes

Personality can impact our health and decision making. Learn more about how your level of agreeableness may affect your health.

Many researchers generally agree that personality is made up of 5 different traits: 

  • Conscientiousness (organization, productiveness, responsibility)
  • Extraversion (sociability, assertiveness; its opposite is Introversion)
  • Agreeableness (compassion, respectfulness, trust in others)
  • Openness (intellectual curiosity and creative imagination)
  • Neuroticism (tendencies toward anxiety and depression)

Some people may have very high or low levels of any single trait, but most of us fall somewhere in-between.

What is agreeableness?

Agreeableness describes how trusting, selfless, modest, and willing to follow rules someone is.

  • Those with high levels of agreeableness tend to be considerate and polite in social interactions. They prefer to resolve conflict by working together or letting things go, and find it easy to trust people and feel compassion towards others. 
  • Those with low levels of agreeableness tend to express themselves directly and bluntly, even if it might start an argument. They are more likely to enjoy competition, and less likely to trust others’ intentions. 

Why does agreeableness matter for health and health decision-making?

Agreeableness may relate to some health behaviors. For example, people who are more agreeable may be less likely to engage in certain risky behaviors, including drunk driving and smoking.

However, when it comes to other behaviors (such as physical activity) and overall health outcomes (such as disease or lifespan), there’s no clear scientific evidence on whether agreeableness helps or hurts your health. 

Overall, agreeableness is not strongly related to health outcomes, but people can use their knowledge about their level of agreeableness to focus on healthy habits. 

We recently offered our members the opportunity to take a survey to see where they fall on the spectrum for agreeableness. If you’re an Evidation Member who took the survey and received your agreeableness results, read on to understand what a high or low score may mean for your health. If you’re not a member and want to see results like these, download the Evidation app.

I scored low on agreeableness. What could this mean for my health?

If you’re low in agreeableness, you may be more likely to react negatively to stressful experiences. With this in mind, consider finding healthy methods of managing stress if you haven’t already. 

For example, you could try finding time to relax with meditation or deep breaths, take opportunities to talk with people you trust about how you’re feeling, or find physical activities that you enjoy.

Alternatively, as someone with a lower level of agreeableness, you may perceive yourself to be at higher health risks than someone who is higher in agreeableness. This, along with the trait itself, may translate to being more likely to self-advocate for your health by asking questions, disagreeing with recommendations that you feel may not be right for you, and seeking second opinions.

I scored high on agreeableness. What could this mean for my health?

Being higher in agreeableness may relate to a lower likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, such as drunk driving. You may also be more likely to engage in healthy coping strategies when you’re stressed, such as seeking social support or reframing a stressful situation positively. 

In certain situations, however, people who are highly agreeable may be too trusting or willing to compromise. For some people, this may result in feeling unheard or like it’s hard to speak up to your healthcare provider. 

Some ways you can practice advocating for your health include:

  • Preparing a list of questions before your next healthcare appointment
  • Tracking your symptoms between healthcare appointments, so you can share a record of how you’ve been feeling with your provider
  • Do some research about your condition, symptoms, and treatment options before your healthcare appointment. This may help you better understand terms your provider might use or treatments that might be recommended to you.

Want to receive more personalized health insights? Complete cards daily in the Evidation app and, if you haven’t already, connect a compatible health app. 

Don’t yet have an Evidation account? Download the app today!

Your Health
May 24, 2023

Is Type 1 diabetes genetic? Learn more about the condition

4 minutes

Is Type 1 diabetes a lifestyle issue or a genetic condition? Take a closer look at this less common form of diabetes and its causes.

According to the CDC, over 37 million people in the United States have diabetes. As many as one-fifth of these individuals don’t know that they have it. These facts make it a serious health concern.

While the tools available to people with diabetes have improved significantly in recent years, a diabetes diagnosis still impacts most aspects of life. If you're someone who’s affected, you’re probably wondering whether or not you’re going to pass the condition on to your kids. In other words, you want to know, “Is Type 1 diabetes genetic?”

To answer this question, you’ll want to take a closer look at diabetes, the different types and how they develop.

How many types of diabetes are there?

Doctors diagnose three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes only affects pregnant people and typically clears up after the baby’s birth. It happens when the body doesn’t make enough insulin to meet the mother’s needs during pregnancy. This occurs in 2 to 10 percent of pregnancies each year.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, making up 90 to 95 percent of all cases, per the CDC. In this type of diabetes, the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin properly, so the body makes more of it to compensate. This condition is known as insulin resistance. Over time, the body can’t keep this up, and blood sugar levels increase.

While Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes, it appears in people of all ages. This form of diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, if it makes any at all. Blood sugar builds up in the bloodstream since insulin isn’t present to help the cells absorb and use it.

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Man sitting at the sofa and taking blood from his finger due to diabetes

While both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes affect a person’s blood sugar, they’re quite different in how they do this.

In someone with Type 1 diabetes:

  • The body can’t create insulin properly.
  • The condition is an autoimmune problem.
  • Symptoms develop quickly.
  • The only treatment is to take insulin.
  • There is no cure.

In someone with Type 2 diabetes:

  • The body can’t use insulin properly.
  • Weight and diet are contributors.
  • Symptoms develop slowly.
  • Treatment involves lifestyle changes and medications or insulin.
  • There's no cure, but it can go into remission.

What causes Type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to destroy cells in the pancreas that make insulin. However, doctors have not identified all of the elements that cause this illness.

Several factors determine if someone is at a higher risk for Type 1 diabetes. They include:

  • Having another autoimmune condition
  • A family history of Type 1 diabetes
  • Genetic components, including variants of specific HLA genes

In addition, people usually have a trigger that causes them to develop Type 1 diabetes. Triggers include certain problems during pregnancy, exposure to viruses, and specific climate factors, such as living near the ocean or at a higher altitude. However, no one knows why only some people develop Type 1 diabetes when these triggers are present.

What percentage of Type 1 diabetes is genetic?

Because doctors can’t pinpoint the exact cause of diabetes, it's impossible to say that a specific percentage of cases result from genetics. Doctors know that predisposition to Type 1 diabetes is passed down through families, but they can’t use this information to predict which children will develop it.

Instead, consider the risk of passing diabetes on to your child if you are an adult who has it. Here are some facts about the odds of passing Type 1 diabetes on to your child:

  • Fathers have a 1 in 17 chance of passing the condition on to their children.
  • Mothers who have children before age 25 have a 1 in 25 chance of passing it on to their children.
  • Mothers who have children after age 25 have a 1 in 100 chance of passing it on, and the general population faces the same level of risk.
  • Parents who are diagnosed with diabetes before age 11 have twice the risk of passing it on to their children as parents of the same age who were diagnosed later.
  • Children who have two Type 1 parents have 1 in 4 odds of developing Type 1 diabetes.

While it’s clear that someone with Type 1 diabetes can pass it on to their child, many people develop the condition without any known relatives who have diabetes. Because of these variances, tracing the Type 1 diabetes inheritance pattern isn’t easy.

Can you prevent Type 1 diabetes?

Young man wearing glasses giving himself an insulin shot at home.

There’s nothing you can do to prevent Type 1 diabetes. Living a healthy lifestyle, having more activity in your life, and eating nutritious foods are all good choices to make, but they can’t stop you from developing an autoimmune disease.

However, these steps can reduce your likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, so they are worth considering.

If you want to gain better control over your health, Evidation can help. Track your steps and sleep or log your meals with your favorite app. Next, connect it to Evidation and get rewarded for healthier choices. You can also participate in health surveys and research, including research into Type 1 diabetes.

Download the app today.

Evidation Highlights
May 22, 2023

Extraversion and Your Health

3 minutes

Did you know your personality can play a role in your health? Learn more about how extraversion may affect your health decision-making.

Researchers generally agree that personality is made up of 5 unique traits: 

  • Conscientiousness (organization, productiveness, responsibility)
  • Extraversion (sociability, assertiveness; its opposite is Introversion)
  • Agreeableness (compassion, respectfulness, trust in others)
  • Openness (intellectual curiosity and creative imagination)
  • Neuroticism (tendencies toward anxiety and depression)

Some people may have very high or low levels of a trait, but most of us fall somewhere in-between. 

What is extraversion?

Extraversion describes how outgoing, adventurous, and dominant someone is.

  • Those with high levels of extraversion tend to feel energized in large groups and enjoy being the center of attention. They are more likely to be thrill-seekers and the life of the party. 
  • Those with low levels of extraversion tend to be less social or outgoing. They think carefully before speaking, enjoy time alone or with a few close friends, and are less likely to take part in thrill-seeking activities. 

Why does extraversion matter for health and health decision-making?

Extraversion is associated with both healthy and unhealthy behaviors. For example, though people who are high in extraversion may be more likely to smoke or engage in distracted driving, they also tend to be more physically active

Personality is only part of the picture–that is, being high in extraversion doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a distracted driver. Additional factors, including genetics and your environment, come into play to affect health behaviors. 

We recently offered our members the opportunity to take a survey to see where they fall on the spectrum for extraversion. If you’re an Evidation Member who took the survey and received your extraversion results, read on to understand what a high or low score may mean for your health. If you’re not a member and want to see results like these, download the Evidation app. 

I scored high in extraversion. What could this mean for my health?

If you’re high in extraversion, try using what you’ve learned about your personality to help you improve your health behaviors. For example…

  • If your social activities often involve drinking or smoking, try finding other activities, such as concerts or hikes, that you and your friends may enjoy. 
  • As someone who is more extraverted, you’re likely to already be physically active. Make sure to keep that up! 
  • Individuals who are extraverted are more likely to enjoy thrill-seeking experiences. Find healthy and exciting experiences, such as fun runs, to keep yourself moving and motivated. 

I scored low in extraversion. What could this mean for my health?

If you’re low in extraversion, you may want to focus on keeping up your relationships. Research has found that social relationships may be just as important for a long and healthy life as not smoking, and even more important than being physically active! 

Of course, physical activity is also important. If you haven’t already, you may want to find methods of physical activity that fit your personality and that don’t drain you both physically and socially. 

You’re probably less likely to enjoy team sports or running clubs, for example, and more likely to enjoy walks with close friends, swimming, or small group activities. If you don’t have a routine yet, try out a few small-group or solo activities to see what you like. 

Want to receive more personalized health insights? Complete cards daily in the Evidation app and, if you haven’t already, connect a compatible health app. 

Don’t yet have an Evidation account? Download the app today!

Fitness & Exercise
May 19, 2023

Health Mythbusting: is 10,000 steps a day really the magic number?

13 minutes

10,000 steps is the magic number…or is it? We take a look at the science behind this common health myth and break down how many steps you really need in our latest post.

According to the CDC, walking is the most popular form of aerobic physical activity. 

From maintaining a healthy weight to strengthening bones and muscles, walking is a powerful way to take care of your body.

And many of us have heard that we should aim for 10,000 steps a day to really see health benefits.

But is there truth to this?

Or is it just a myth? 

In today’s article, we’ll be diving deep into the concept of whether 10,000 steps a day is the magic number for health or not. We’ll share where this idea comes from, whether it truly is the magic number, and more. Keep reading to learn the truth!

Where does the 10,000 steps a day idea come from?

Whether you heard it from a friend, or read it on a fitness app, this message has been circling the health community for some time now. 

But here’s the truth. 

There doesn’t appear to be any scientific data that 10,000 steps a day is the optimal goal for health.

In fact, the whole idea might actually stem from an old marketing strategy used by a Japanese Pedometer company in the 1960s. The idea came from a marketer, not a doctor.

Does that mean it should be thrown out? No, the 10,000 steps a day idea has started a renewed interest in being active, and that’s always a good thing.

How long does it take to walk 10,000 steps?

If you’re wondering how to get 10,000 steps in a day, the first question to ask is how to fit in the extra time to increase your average steps per day. Knowing how long it takes to get those steps is helpful.

The answer to this question depends on how long your stride is and how quickly you can walk. 

On average, people take 100 steps per minute. This is a pace of about 3 miles per hour, which is a fast walk. If you can keep up that pace for the entire 10,000 steps, then it will take 100 minutes, or 1 hour and 40 minutes, to walk it.

How many miles is 10,000 steps?

The number of miles you’ll cover with 10,000 steps is going to vary based on how long your steps are. Someone with a long stride is going to cover more ground in their 10,000 steps than someone with a shorter stride. A child will cover less ground with 10,000 steps than an adult because of their smaller stride. 

That said, for the average adult, 10,000 steps is about 5 miles or 8 kilometers. If you’re trying to add to your average steps per day by adding walking exercise, knowing how many steps are on your walk is helpful. If you take a 2-mile walk to increase your step count, you’ll likely be taking 3,000 to 4,000 steps on that walk.

Because of the variance in the number of miles you'll cover by walking 10,000 steps a day, measuring steps is more effective than measuring distance. You'll receive the benefits of increased walking, including increased flexibility, increased blood flow, better heart health, improved balance and increased range of motion, as long as you're striving for that 10,000 mark, even if your distance falls short of the 5-mile average.

Keep in mind that 10,000 steps is a goal that works well for many people, but it’s not the best goal for every person. The benefits of walking more happen if you increase your energy expenditure, even if 10,000 steps a day is out of reach. 

Is 10,000 steps really the magic number?

One study followed 2,110 adults with an average follow-up of 10.8 years. During this study, people taking at least 7,000 steps a day compared to those taking less than 7,000 steps a day had a 50% to 70% lower risk of mortality.

This doesn’t give any evidence that 10,000 steps is the magic number. But it does indicate that more exercise is better than less. 

So is 10,000 steps the magic number or not?

Amanda Paluch, a lead researcher studying the link between how many steps people take and cardiovascular disease, led a team that analyzed seven earlier studies that followed participants who wore step counters and tracked their cardiovascular health.

They brought all the studies together for a more diverse sample. They found that as the number of steps increased, the risk of cardiovascular disease decreased. 

But the message isn’t that 10,000 steps is the magical number.

The message is to move more.

Paluch goes on to explain that just increasing your steps incrementally could be helpful to your cardiovascular health. So, we shouldn’t get caught up in a set goal of 10,000 steps or any other number. 

There is no “all or nothing” when it comes to the benefits we get from walking.  

How many steps a day should you be getting?

senior Black woman enjoying morning run in park

So how many steps should we be getting every day?

Anything below 4,000 steps a day is considered a low level of physical activity. So, if you’re regularly walking less than that, and if you aren’t limited by mobility or health conditions that prevent you from walking more, it might be a good idea to step up your step count. 

But that doesn’t mean you have to push for 10,000 each day. 

Certain health benefits from walking are prevalent way before we reach 10,000, especially for those who are inactive or have low levels of activity. 

Here’s the takeaway.

The number of steps you should take each day depends on several factors. 

Your age, health, present fitness levels, and fitness goals can all directly affect the appropriate amount of steps you should be aiming for. 

The CDC’s recommendations for the amount of physical activity you should aim for are based on your current fitness level. 

There are 4 levels of aerobic activity the CDC refers to:

  • Inactive - this means that there’s no extra physical activity taking place besides the basic movements required for daily life. 
  • Insufficiently active - this is when someone does a moderate amount of exercise. Either less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. 
  • Active - this is the equivalent of someone doing 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. This is the key guideline target range for healthy adults. 
  • Highly active - this is when someone does more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. 

But what does moderate-intensity exercise include? 

Moderate-intensity is anything from brisk walking to house and yard work. This means we can achieve 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity by walking. 

And according to the American College of Sports Medicine, 7,000 to 9,000 steps a day may be the equivalent of the recommended 150 to 300 minutes of activity each week.

If you’re inactive or insufficiently active, it may be challenging to work towards a goal of 7,000 to 9,000 steps right away. It might be best to slowly work your way up. 

As time progresses, and you begin to learn your physical capabilities, you can start to aim for a particular number. 

If you deal with certain health conditions, it may be best to consult with a healthcare professional to learn about precautions you should take.

How to add more steps in your day

A multi-ethnic group of senior adults are walking together on a trail through the park.

Taking more steps in your day might seem like a hard thing to do, but there are actually many ways you can incorporate more walking into your daily life. By adding a few small steps now, you’ll find the count on your fitness tracker increasing substantially. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take the stairs - avoiding elevators and escalators or anything that decreases how much you walk could be a great way to naturally add more steps into your day.
  • Walk with a dog or friend - taking some time out of your day to walk your dog can be a great way to clear your head while also adding in more steps and getting your dog to exercise. And if you don’t have a dog, it might be a great chance to spend some time with a friend and catch up!
  • Park further away or walk rather than drive - whether you’re taking a trip to the grocery store or meeting up at a friend's house, taking time to take those extra steps either by walking or parking further away from your destination might be a great way to add more steps into your daily routine.‍
  • Listen while walking - If you’re going to listen to music or a podcast, take a walk while you do. This will add more steps to your day, and you’ll still get to listen to what you enjoy.
  • Walk while watching TV - If you’re in the habit of watching TV to unwind at the end of the day, consider adding some walking. Walk in place, or load the show onto a tablet or phone to watch while on the treadmill. You’ll log a lot of steps during a one-hour show.
  • Get up earlier - Getting up 15 minutes earlier to take a short walk before starting your day could add 1,000 to 2,000 steps to your daily routine, depending on how quickly you walk. Again, little changes add up over time.
  • Walk while you wait - If you're waiting for an appointment, step to a quiet corner and walk in place, or pace the hallway. Any time you’re sitting without something you need to do, consider walking instead of sitting.
  • Talk on the phone and walk - If you need to take a phone call, put on a Bluetooth headset and walk the neighborhood while you talk. This is another instance when you don't need to just sit, but can get some steps in while you’re doing something else.
  • Change your entertainment - Instead of choosing to play on the computer or watch TV, use your free time to explore your local park or farmer’s market. Active, outdoor activities will help you log more steps, even while having some fun.

The key is to find little places to add steps to your day. In just 10 minutes, you can add 1,000 to your step count. All it takes is a little creativity. 

In addition, try to break up your walks. Don’t try to get all of your steps in one epic walk. Instead, find 10 to 15 minutes at a time where you can walk, and you’ll find the process feels easier, even when the outcome is the same. Quick walks and workouts almost always feel less overwhelming than longer ones.

After looking for small places to add steps to your day, you may start noticing the benefits of increased activity. If you want more, consider these more detailed steps. 

1. Get into a routine

Having a routine is the key to being more active. Once you’re in the habit, you’ll find it easier to get a higher step count each day.

The researchers at MIT found that the cue-routine-reward system is highly effective at building neurological connections that make something into a habit. To do this, you need:

  • Cue - The cue is something that triggers the thought to work out. For instance, if you want to work out in the morning, your morning alarm could be your cue. Tie the activity into the cue regularly until it becomes a habit.
  • Routine - Next, make it a routine. The routine is a habit or action that you do every time to make sure you’re active. Then, do the activity, such as taking your walk. Consistency is the key to making this a habit.
  • Reward - The reward is something tangible that makes you feel good about doing the activity. Sometimes, all you need is the endorphins your body makes. However, some people need a more tangible reward. Don’t reward yourself with something unhealthy, like dessert, but rather something that further supports your routine, like new workout clothes after being consistent for a month. Another option is to use Evidation, which will put your rewards on autopilot. Our members earn rewards for the steps they take.

If you go through the cue-routine-reward cycle multiple times, you’re likely to build a habit. Soon, walking will be something you're so used to, you don't even think about it, and you're getting your steps in on a more regular basis.

Habit stacking can also work well. To do this, stack your walking habits with something you already do every day. Since the first item is already a routine, you'll be able to add the new one more easily.

For instance, if you sit and listen to a podcast daily, grab some earbuds and listen while you walk. You’ll add up steps more quickly and not have to add something new to your daily routine.

2. Start small and build

One of the reasons many people find starting new exercise routines challenging is they try to start too big. Instead of taking on a large goal, start with increasing your steps in small increments each week, until you see yourself with a large jump in the number of steps you’re taking.

Before you begin, get a step tracker to log your daily steps on an average day. Aim to increase 1,000 steps a week until you reach your personal goal, whether that’s 5,000 steps, 7,000 steps or 10,000 steps.

Start with adding an evening or morning walk, using the routine building system mentioned above. Once that’s a habit, add another walk at another time of day. Soon you’ll be closer to reaching your step goals by building a little at a time.

3. Build walking into your workday

Are there places in your workday where you can be active?

This doesn't have to look like taking a mile walk on your lunch break. It can be small changes that add steps to your day and reduce the amount of time you spend sitting at your desk.

For instance, instead of sending an email to your coworker, can you walk across the office to talk in person? When you have a one-on-one meeting, if it doesn't require a computer, have the meeting while you and your coworker take a walk.

4. Grab a friend

You’ll be more likely to stick with your walking goals if you do it with a friend. Having a friend will be an accountability piece, and you’ll find the walking more enjoyable as you socialize.

While the goal of getting more steps doesn't have anything to do with intensity, you might find that you walk faster and get more cardio in along with your steps, and you track more in a shorter period of time. Check out more ideas for increasing your cardiovascular health while you’re also working to increase your steps.

How many steps per day should I walk to achieve better health?

To sum it up, there’s no evidence or research that shows 10,000 steps is the optimal walking goal for health. In fact, the magic number of steps for one person may be different from another’s.

But that doesn’t change the fact that more steps could be better. What’s true is that walking more carries many health benefits. 

If you’re getting 2,000 steps a day, increasing to 5,000 steps is going to improve your strength and cardiovascular health. But if you add a beneficial yoga routine to your exercise routine, and get fewer steps, you’re still getting increased health benefits.The key is to get more active.

Although we shouldn’t get caught up in the number of steps we should be taking, we can strive to get better each and every day, one step at a time.

Whether that means you aim for 6,000 steps a day or 5,000, there’s no standard number that every single person should be aiming for. It changes based on several factors. These factors include:

  • Your current fitness and activity level
  • Other activities you do to stay active
  • Health conditions you might have

To determine the best step count to aim for, talk to your doctor, and then start walking!

Remember, 10,000 steps may be a bit of a health myth, but it has shed light on the fact that society lends itself toward sedentary living, and being more active is beneficial to your health.

This is just one of the many topics we’ll be tackling in the coming months. Be sure to watch for future articles where we’ll be breaking down more common health myths. 

We’ll be speaking on topics like whether apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight, and if an apple a day really does keep the doctor away! 

Stay tuned for more!

Start getting rewards for tracking your steps with Evidation

At Evidation, we’re here to help you get the rewards you need to get active and take better care of your health. We make it easy and fun to stay active, and let you earn cash at the same time.

Evidation connects with multiple step-tracking apps to reward you for making positive changes to your health. Whether or not you choose to reach for 10,000 steps a day, you can get rewards for making active choices. Sync your step tracker with Evidation, and start earning points you can redeem for cash.

Your Health
May 17, 2023

How much water should you drink a day?

5 minutes

Folk wisdom says that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but is this accurate? Let's learn more.

Most of us have heard the advice from experts: Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day for optimal health (the "8x8 rule"). After all, the average adult's body is made up of 50 to 70 percent water. But is the 8x8 rule accurate, or is this an arbitrary number? Hint: It's an arbitrary number, and it doesn't apply to everyone.

The fact is that we all need plenty of water, but deciding how much water to drink in a day depends on several different factors. Let's dive in and learn more about precisely how much water you need—based on your unique situation—and why it's important to stay hydrated.

How much water should you drink daily?

You likely weren't surprised to learn that the 8x8 rule isn't the ideal fit for everyone. So, if it's not eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, how much water should a person drink daily? It depends. While it's a simple question, the answer is complicated.

We do have a short answer to this question, but please keep reading to determine how much water you need based on your unique circumstances. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, this is how much water adult men and women should drink every day:

  • Males: 15.5 cups (125 ounces or 3.7 liters) per day
  • Females: 11.5 cups (91 ounces or 2.7 liters) per day

Note that these figures for adults are for total daily fluid intake. We also get up to 20 percent of our daily fluids from the foods we eat, especially if we eat plenty of water-rich fruit and vegetables. Milk, coffee, tea, and most other beverages also count toward this recommended fluid intake.

The recommended water intake for children is slightly different, per the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The ideal amount depends on activity levels and medical conditions. Generally, children should drink this much water every day:

  • Children aged 4-8: 40 ounces
  • Boys aged 9-13: 64-80 ounces
  • Girls aged 9-13: 56-72 ounces
  • Boys aged 14-18: 88-112 ounces
  • Girls aged 14-18: 64-80 ounces

Other factors impacting recommended fluid intake

Several other factors determine how much water you actually need to drink every day:

  • Geographical location: If you live in a hot, dry, or humid region, you need to drink more water. People who live in high-altitude areas such as mountains also need more water to stay adequately hydrated.
  • Environment: Spending time outdoors or working in overheated rooms may increase your water intake needs.
  • Diet: People who drink a lot of caffeinated beverages may lose more water because of frequent urination. Equally important, you'll probably need more water if you eat a diet high in spicy, salty, or sugary foods.
  • Season or outdoor temperature: Most people require more water during the warmer months because of perspiration, especially individuals who spend time outdoors.
  • Overall health: Illnesses and medical conditions affect how much water you need. For example, when you have a fever or infection, you may lose more fluids through diarrhea and vomiting. Health conditions like diabetes also increase your hydration needs.
  • Activity levels: If you're active or stand and walk more than average, you probably need more water than someone with a desk job. Also, if you do physical activities such as exercising or even just getting your steps in, you'll need to recover your water loss by drinking more.
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding: People who are pregnant or breastfeeding need more water to keep themselves hydrated.

To calculate precisely how much water you need to drink every day, use this tool from the University of Missouri.

Benefits of drinking water throughout the day

Every single cell, tissue, and vital organ in your body requires water to function properly. Here are some of the many reasons to make sure you drink plenty of water:

  • Heart health: Maintaining adequate hydration contributes to heart health and reduces the risk of cardiovascular failure.
  • Brain health: Your brain is made up of about 73 percent water, and the lubrication helps with firing your hormones and neurotransmitters. Hydration has an effect on focus and concentration, but it also plays a role in your moods, memory, and emotional health.
  • Weight maintenance: Drinking more water can curb your appetite and increase your metabolism
  • Kidney health: Your kidneys use water to remove waste and toxins from the body. Kidneys also play a crucial role in maintaining the right balance of salt, water, and minerals in your body.
  • Joint health: Joint cartilage is made up of about 80 percent water, so staying well-hydrated can help lubricate and cushion your joints.
  • Energy levels: Poor hydration affects the flow of nutrients to our cells, resulting in fatigue. Stay well-hydrated to keep your energy level high.
  • Immune system health: Staying hydrated helps us have a more robust immune system, which fights off diseases and illnesses.
  • Skin health: Our skin consists of about 64 percent water. If your skin has to give up moisture to more critical bodily functions, it will become dry. This can eventually result in wrinkles and irritation.

What happens if you don’t drink enough water?

Staying adequately hydrated has a positive impact on nearly every aspect of your health. Not drinking enough water has an effect on your physical performance and can cause cognitive impairment, kidney and urinary problems, and an increased risk of various other health issues. Moreover, severe dehydration requires immediate care because it's a medical emergency.

You may be approaching dehydration if you're feeling lightheaded or overly tired and have a dry mouth. Signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Dark urine: Aim for pale yellow urine. If your urine is the color of dark apple cider, you're likely dehydrated unless you are taking medication that changes the color of your urine.
  • Extreme thirst: If you're feeling thirsty, you may already be approaching dehydration. But don't rely completely on thirst. Note that people aged 65 and older are at increased risk of dehydration because the body's thirst mechanisms begin to malfunction with aging. Newborns and infants also face a higher risk of dehydration because of their low body weight.

Can you drink too much water?

Most adults rarely drink too much water, but athletes such as marathon runners need to be careful about drinking too much as they attempt to prevent dehydration. If you drink too much water, your kidneys can't eliminate the excess water, causing your blood's sodium content to become diluted. The result can be a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia. According to the National Kidney Foundation, life-threatening overhydration symptoms include:

  • Confusion, headache, or fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Energy loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramps or twitching
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures or coma

Staying hydrated for optimal health

How much water should you drink a day? We've laid out all of the different factors that affect how much H2O you should have every day, along with the most important water benefits. The answer is that it's different for everyone. Understanding your personal needs is the first step.

Evidation Members can earn points by tracking self-care activities, such as staying hydrated, walking, eating healthy food, sleeping, and more. Download our app today to get started.

Evidation Highlights
May 17, 2023

Conscientiousness and Your Health

3 minutes

Did you know that personality can impact health? Conscientiousness, one of the Big 5 personality traits may affect your health decision-making. Learn more in our latest post.

Many researchers generally agree that personality is made up of 5 unique traits: 

  • Conscientiousness (organization, productiveness, responsibility)
  • Extraversion (sociability, assertiveness; its opposite is Introversion)
  • Agreeableness (compassion, respectfulness, trust in others)
  • Openness (intellectual curiosity and creative imagination)
  • Neuroticism (tendencies toward anxiety and depression)

Some people may have very high or low levels of any single trait, but most of us fall somewhere in-between.

What is conscientiousness?

Conscientiousness describes how organized, determined, and likely to follow norms and rules someone is. 

  • Those with high levels of conscientiousness tend to work hard to achieve their goals and complete tasks they’ve started. They also tend to get higher grades in school and perform better in many jobs, but are more likely to experience perfectionism and fear of failure. 
  • Those with low levels of conscientiousness tend to act spontaneously instead of making plans. While they may be a bit disorganized, they’re also more likely to be flexible with decision-making, and able to bounce back from setbacks. Overall, they may find it easier to look at the big picture than pay attention to details. 

Why does conscientiousness matter for health and health decision-making?

Research has found that people who are high in conscientiousness tend to live longer and healthier lives. Why? Because they tend to be rule followers, people who are high in conscientiousness are more likely to follow health recommendations. 

For example, on average, conscientious people drink less alcohol, eat healthier diets, and are more likely to wear seat belts.

Conscientious people may also have healthier coping mechanisms–that is, ways to deal with negative life events–than people who are less conscientious. 

For example, conscientious people are more likely to try to solve a difficult problem (e.g., going for daily walks to reduce cholesterol) than to use an emotional escape (e.g., watching television to distract from thoughts about cholesterol).

We recently offered our members the opportunity to take a survey to see where they fall on the spectrum for conscientiousness. If you’re an Evidation Member who took the survey and received your conscientiousness results, read on to understand what a high or low score may mean for your health. If you’re not a member and want to see results like these, download the Evidation app. 

What does my conscientiousness score mean for me?

Although research has found that conscientiousness relates to mental and physical health, having a low score doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to have poor health just as having a high score doesn’t mean you’ll never be ill. 

No matter what your level of conscientiousness, you can use what research has uncovered about personality and health to improve your own well-being. 

If you’d like to increase your conscientious behavior for better health, aim to set small, achievable goals. Below are some tips you may find useful: 

  • Reflect on how to avoid or overcome obstacles. Imagine your desired future self and think about the obstacles you may face in becoming that person and how you might be able to overcome them. For example, if your goal is to become a less distracted driver, an obstacle might be that you’re tempted to look at your phone whenever you see an incoming message. One way to overcome this obstacle might be to set your phone to “do not disturb” when driving so that you can’t see the alerts and are reminded to break the habit of looking.
  • Create “if-then” plans for handling situations related to your health goals. For example, if you want to reduce your tobacco consumption, your if-then plan may be: “If I crave a cigarette, then I’ll take a five minute walk instead.” 
  • Track your progress and celebrate small victories. For example, if your goal is to walk more, set a small, specific, and achievable goal: “I’ll walk for 5 minutes every morning after I finish my coffee.” As your walks become a habit, increase the time, but be careful not to let missed walks discourage you–you can pick up again tomorrow!

…and don’t forget, start small to set yourself up for success!

Want to receive more personalized health insights? Complete cards daily in the Evidation app and, if you haven’t already, connect a compatible health app. 

Don’t yet have an Evidation account? Download the app today!

Lifestyle & Wellness
May 12, 2023

Self-Care Tips to Boost Your Mood

10 minutes

Whether you’re adventuring, decluttering, relaxing or starting a new hobby, there are plenty of ways to find balance and give your mental health a boost.

The opportunities to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health are endless. Whether you’re looking to check in, refresh, or relax, these self-care tips are guaranteed to give your mood a boost! 

Self-care tips for your mind, spirit, and body

Self-care is a term that's easily defined: caring for yourself. Essentially, anything you do to prioritize your mental, physical, and spiritual health is self-care. However, while the term is easy to define, putting self-care into practice isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

The world we live in demands a lot of us. Equally, as humans, we tend to demand a lot of ourselves. We're driven to perform, and there's nothing wrong with being productive or ambitious. The problem is that we too often neglect self-care when it stands in the way of getting more things done. 

Knowing how to do self-care will have a profound effect on your overall well-being. Moreover, self-care helps you live a more balanced life. By practicing self-care, we're making an investment in our current and future selves, and we become more resilient and better able to confidently navigate life’s challenges.

1. Move your body

Taking care of our bodies is an important priority, but self-care physical exercise isn't about doing intense workouts. It's OK to take a break in the middle of your day to move your body with activities like stretching or a leisurely stroll around the block. When we take a half hour for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate—whether in the morning, the middle of the day, or after work—we release tension and give ourselves some love in a way that doesn't require us to take a shower afterward.

By stretching and moving our bodies, we also promote flexibility and balance. Moving the body more often is an investment in our long-term health and well-being. The key to making body movement a consistent self-care practice is to find something that's easily accessible for you. Maybe this means taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or listening to your favorite podcast while you take a stroll instead of watching TV in the evening.

2. Disrupt your routine for a day

Have you ever found an unexpected pocket of time in the middle of a busy day? For example, maybe you were at work and your boss spontaneously told the entire office to leave an hour early. Or perhaps you had plans that fell through at the last minute, and your introverted soul secretly rejoiced because you suddenly recaptured a few hours of time for yourself.

These disruptions are usually a good thing, and it's in these unexpected moments that adventures often arise. There's no reason you can't plan in advance to disrupt your day. You could take an afternoon off and use that time to browse a bookstore or visit a museum. In other words, feed your spirit in a way that’s atypical. Just be sure you make your planned disruption all about giving yourself some self-care. It can be tempting to pack this new-found block of time with the tasks that are waiting for you, but this time is all for you to do something that feeds your spirit.

3. Unplug from technology

Without question, technology adds value to our lives. The internet, computers, smartphones, and TV make us more productive and efficient, and these tools give us a world of knowledge at our fingertips. Whether for learning, working, or enjoying some relaxing free time with a favorite show, most of us are connected in one way or another at all times. Specifically, a study conducted by Penn State showed that Americans spend more than 10 hours a day staring at screens. Unplugging from technology for a day (or half a day) is one of the easiest ways to practice self-care.

When we unplug, we start to pay attention to our thoughts again, and we become more present. We begin to notice the world around us, whether inside our homes or outside in nature.

Unplugging isn't just about stepping away from your computer screen. Consider putting your phone on "do not disturb" so that only the most important people can get through to you. Turn your smartphone upside down on your desk or bedside table so you're not distracted by notifications. Even better, leave it on your desk as you go explore your world.

4. Schedule a time for worrying (budget, planning, news)

Most of us tend to reactively deal with issues and worries as they arise. For example, when a news alert pops up in our notifications, maybe we stop what we're doing to read it. Or we spend varying portions of our day on planning. This can be creating to-do lists, clearing out our email inboxes, and budgeting.

Everyone has issues to worry about. These issues can include financial worries, personal challenges you're facing, or staying on top of current events. Creating a window of time—an hour or two every weekday—to devote to these concerns frees up the rest of your day for more positive things, and you have more time for self-care. In fact, setting up a designated period for dealing with issues that come up is a form of self-care.

5. Document your life journey

We’re all taking our own unique journeys through life, and your path is unlike that of anyone else in the world. Documenting your journey—whether through a bound journal, scrapbook, or blog—is a great way to practice self-care. Journaling helps us process our thoughts, getting them out of our heads and onto paper. However, reflection doesn't have to be done with pen and paper or even via a blog. You can create a video journal and share your thoughts with others online or keep them for yourself. 

Maintaining an ongoing gratitude journal is also helpful. Consider spending time in reflection at the end of every day, jotting down the things that you feel grateful for. Or sit down at the end of the week and list the happenings that have affected you in a positive way. 

Another idea is to get creative with documenting your journey. Creating a scrapbook of your life's milestones serves as a tangible reminder of the paths you've taken, and creating artwork that's meaningful to you serves the same purpose. 

6. Indulge in reading fiction

Is reading the latest novel by your favorite author one of your guilty pleasures? If so, you already know one of the best things to do for self-care. According to research, reading fiction can benefit your memory, creativity, and cognitive abilities. 

So go ahead and immerse yourself in an engrossing story and allow yourself a good dose of healthy escapism. Read a genre you already love or try something completely new, such as historical fiction, romance, or literary fiction. 

7. Spend time with animals

Cuddling a furry kitten or playing fetch with a rambunctious puppy can be good for your health. When you spend time with animals, you’re connecting to another living creature, and these are creatures that are non judgemental and love unconditionally.

If you have a pet already, this isn’t news to you. However, if you don't have pets of your own, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter. According to science, giving back feels good, and when you combine volunteering with spending time with vulnerable animals, it’s a winning combination. For example, these havens for homeless animals often need volunteers to help socialize kittens so that they’re adoptable. It’s nearly impossible to focus on your worries when you’re spending time with vulnerable animals. And who knows? You may fall in love with one of these loveable creatures and have a new best friend. 

8. Take a nap

As children, most of us dreaded being put down for a nap. However, as a grown adult with lots of responsibilities, a nap probably feels like a luxury you can’t afford. The fact is, naps are excellent for self-care, but it’s also a great investment into your productivity. The key to an effective nap is to keep it short. If you let yourself sleep too long, you may feel groggy when you wake up. 

Experts agree napping for 20-30 minutes is ideal for a quick recharge. Find a quiet spot without distractions, using earplugs or an eye mask if you find it hard to sleep during the daytime. If you have a hard time sleeping in the middle of the day, use your naptime to do some reading. Just the act of lying still in a bed is refreshing, even if you don’t go to sleep. 

9. Clean up what you take in

A great way to clean up what you take in is to embrace a cleaner diet. The food you eat has a significant impact on your mental health and could be a game changer in your energy and mental clarity. Local farmers' markets provide healthy, affordable produce options and meats for you to enjoy. 

In addition to eating cleaner, another way to practice self-care is to reduce your caffeine intake. While coffee has health benefits, you can reap the same benefits by drinking half-caff or decaf coffee. 

Cleaner eating is a great start to self-care through eating, but don't forget to treat yourself now and then. When you're rewarding yourself with a healthy treat—such as a couple of pieces of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate—it definitely falls into the pamper and self-care category. 

10. Get outside 

When the sun is out and the weather is warm, you have ample opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors, a nearby park, or your own backyard. Spending time outside moving your body or just relaxing are great ways to get fresh air in your lungs and vitamin D into your system. 

Especially if you live in a region where frigid winters and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are common, time outside in the warmer months can bolster your immune system and mental health while lowering your stress levels. It’s also a great time to explore where you live, visit small businesses, find local hikes, or enjoy a day at the beach. 

11. Give your home a refresh 

It’s always a great time to clean, declutter, and maintain your home inside and out. Small details add up to big results here, so you don’t have to worry about major projects and remodels unless they’re timely, affordable, and needed. Clearing cobwebs from corners and molding, washing pillows and bedding, and rearranging your furniture can make any space feel new again. 

If you want to take things a step further, consider going through your belongings one room at a time to sort out any broken or donatable items. Removing things like expired food, old children’s toys, or clothes that no longer fit can leave you with extra storage or even more space to leave open and refreshed in your home. 

If you’re a homeowner who finds yourself constantly stressed about maintaining appliances and avoiding a home emergency, look into appliance warranties that provide timely repair or replacement of items like your fridge and garage door opener. Also available for your home’s HVAC systems, these warranties can mean the difference between a broken air conditioner on a hot day and an efficient cooling system providing your family with fresh, clean air. This can contribute to your peace of mind all year long. 

12. Check in with yourself 

Outside or in, spending some time alone with yourself can do you a lot of good. Consider setting aside some quiet time to meditate, pray, journal, or rest. These moments alone can help you get in touch with how you’re really feeling and where your mental health is at, away from opinion and outside influence.

Perhaps the most important part of spending time alone is making sure you’re actually alone. This means removing any access you have to tech devices and finding a spot where you’ll remain uninterrupted. The more you practice this routine, the more comfortable you’re going to feel. Over time, these intentional moments can help you with goal-setting, communicating with others, and feeling more at ease. 

13. Spend time in community with others 

This might seem contradictory to what we talked about in the last section, but it’s important that you balance your moments alone with time spent building relationships. Whether you’re with family or friends, or in a community of faith, healthy relationships with others carry a lot of benefits for your mental and emotional health. 

This is a great opportunity for those who experience social anxiety to practice their grounding techniques and create a safe, communicative environment with others. If you’re looking to keep busy or get creative, consider checking out your local YMCA or community center for cooking classes, weekly bingo, or recreational sports leagues. Other great community activities include volunteering together, having a picnic, or doing a paint ‘n’ sip evening. 

14. Give yourself a break from social media

Just like you have a home for your body, your body is your home. If you’re cleaning and decluttering your physical space, consider making some changes to what you put into your body as well. It’s always good to evaluate things like your food intake, screen time, and media exposure. 

We all know how easy it is to get lost in our phones these days. Between TikTok providing commitment-free bursts of entertainment and social media constantly jarring us with opinions, gossip, and unrealistic expectations, it’s important to log off and stay in touch with reality. 

It’s a simple truth; we can’t thrive off of knowing every minute detail of someone else’s life, especially if they’re a complete stranger. If you’re interested in cutting back, you’re not alone in the challenge it poses. Remember to start small, remove your phone or TV from one meal a day, commit to a device-free friend hangout, or—if you’re feeling brave—turn your phone off for an entire day of exciting activities. 

Now that you know how to do self-care, what's the next step?

Whether you’re adventuring, decluttering, relaxing or starting a new hobby, there are plenty of ways to find balance and give your mental health a boost. Don’t be afraid to make the most of it, and remember that caring for yourself means that you can be a better person for the important people in your life

Evidation Members can earn points for tracking self-care activities such as walking, sleeping, food intake, and more. Download our app today to learn more.

Your Health
May 10, 2023

What is a healthy resting heart rate?

9 minutes

In most people, heart rate indicates how physically fit they are, based on how the muscle is functioning. Regular cardiovascular fitness, like running, walking, cycling, and swimming, can help lower your resting heart rate.

Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.

It’s one simple number that can tell you so much about how your heart is functioning and if you need to make any changes to your lifestyle or daily habits to improve it.

In most people, heart rate indicates how physically fit they are, based on how the muscle is functioning. Regular cardiovascular fitness, like running, walking, cycling, and swimming, can help lower your resting heart rate.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of tracking your heart rate, how to measure your heart rate and the various factors that can influence heart rate. In turn, you may discover small lifestyle changes you can make to improve your heart health. 

Importance of tracking heart rate

As a general rule, a lower resting heart rate typically indicates a healthier or more physically active person. A normal resting heart rate varies by age and how healthy a person is. Some health conditions can impact resting heart rate, including anemia, thyroid problems, asthma, cardiomyopathy, and others.

The information provided in this post is for generally healthy individuals. Anyone with any type of heart condition should consult their healthcare provider before following recommendations or health advice about their heart. 

If your healthcare provider recommends taking steps to lower your heart rate, there are many benefits to doing so. As your heart rate lowers, your heart will be able to more efficiently pump blood with each contraction and maintain a regular heartbeat throughout the day. This helps improve your overall heart health and many functions throughout your body, including quality of life and potentially increasing your lifespan. 

Tracking your heart rate is simple, non-invasive, and takes less than a minute to perform. You can track your heart rate sitting at your desk at work, from the couch at home, or anywhere else where you’re calm, relaxed, and not overexerting yourself.

Consistently tracking your heart rate gives you beneficial insights into how your body’s most important muscle is operating and if it’s working harder than it should be.

By knowing your heart rate, you can understand the steps you need to take in order to lower it through exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes.

Say your doctor recommends performing more cardio workouts to lower your heart rate. By regularly measuring your resting heart rate, you have a baseline to start with. After adding more cardio to your fitness routine, you can accurately evaluate how the exercise is lowering and improving your heart rate over time.

Tracking your heart rate can also help your doctor to detect any potential health risks or conditions that may be occurring in real-time, rather than playing catch up later on once they’re worse.

One simple measurement can tell you so much about your physical and emotional health. It all starts with knowing your resting heart rate and working with a medical professional to decide if lowering your heart rate is a beneficial decision for your health. From finding physical activities that work for your lifestyle to making simple diet changes, lowering your resting heart rate can have many positive impacts on your life. 

Normal resting heart rates by age

In healthy adults (over 18 years old), a healthy resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).

Children typically have a much higher heart rate than adults because their hearts are much smaller and have to beat faster.

Toddlers between ages 3 and 4 typically have a heart rate between 80 and 120 bpm, while newborn babies have a heart rate between 70 and 190 bpm.

How to calculate your heart rate

Measuring your heart rate can be done simply by checking your pulse.

Getting a consistent resting heart rate is best done when you are - you guessed it - resting. 

This means you should not calculate your resting heart rate immediately after you’ve eaten a meal, gone for a run, or done some other physical activity. There are occasions when individuals test their heart rate during exercise as well, but that won’t provide an accurate resting heart rate. Allow your body to calm down and regulate before measuring your resting heart rate to get an accurate reading.

Rest your index and third fingers on the side of your neck on your windpipe. To check your pulse on your wrist, place two fingers on the radial artery, which can be found on the thumb side of your wrist.

Young woman checking her heart rate using a smartwatch to keep time

Whether checking on your neck or your wrist, wait a few seconds to find your pulse. Then, count the number of beats you feel in 15 seconds. Once you have that number, multiply it by 4 to discover your BPM (beats per minute). Feel free to check it multiple times to ensure you’re getting the correct reading.

There are many devices today that calculate heart rate for you at any given time. These include heart rate monitors, smartphones, smartwatches, and other wearables.

It’s a good idea to keep a consistent eye on your heart rate so you can detect early on if something seems awry. Knowing your normal resting heart rate will provide you with a baseline should your heart rate increase over time. This will make it easier to narrow down what may be going on in your body and find a solution.

Factors that impact heart rate

Many factors can impact heart rate in both negative and positive ways. These include pre-existing health conditions, your diet and lifestyle, the amount of exercise you get, and many other influences. Let’s discuss them here.

Activity levels

Individuals who prioritize physical and aerobic exercise generally have lower heart rates than those who do not. The heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to grow stronger.

Getting consistent exercise, whether it’s a stroll around the neighborhood, swimming, cycling, or running, can help train and strengthen the heart. As you improve your exercise levels, the heart will be in better shape to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body, effectively lowering your heart rate. 

Blood pressure

Having a higher heart rate is often associated with high blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure have a much higher risk of developing heart disease at some point in their lives. By 2035, more than 130 million American adults are projected to have some form of cardiovascular disease; blood pressure and hypertension are two of the most significant risk factors associated with CVD.  


Physical and emotional stress takes a toll on the body in many ways, and heart rate is one of them. Stress and other emotions, including anxiety, depression, and fear, can elevate the heart rate to a potentially dangerous rate.

If an individual experiences chronic stress, where the stress hormone levels never fully regulate, that person can be at a higher risk of a heart attack.


Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, which reduces the oxygen in the blood and the heart. The heart needs oxygen to function, so the heart rate speeds up to produce more oxygen.

Smoking also tightens the major arteries in the heart and can cause an irregular heartbeat, forcing the heart to work harder and the heart rate to rise.


When it comes to diet, foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates can be difficult on the heart.

Eating heavy meals on a regular basis can impact a person’s cholesterol levels, along with heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of a heart attack. The body works hard to break down the food we eat so it can pass through the digestive system. The amount of blood needed for digestion impacts your heart rate after every meal. 

To avoid overeating, try drinking a glass of water before every meal. Fill your plate with fresh produce, clean protein, and limit sodium as much as you can. Make small changes over time to get better results in the long term. 

Caffeine Intake

That morning cup of coffee is a safe, healthy choice for most people, but if you are consuming caffeine in large amounts during the day, your heart rate may be impacted.

Caffeine stimulates the cells in the heart and makes it beat faster, speeding up blood flow and heart rate. If your caffeine consumption is impacting your heart rate, try to limit your intake to two cups of brewed coffee per day.


When your body is dehydrated, the heart reacts and tries to regulate body temperature by beating faster. Dehydration means less blood can circulate through the body, so the heart works overtime to try and catch up.

Proper hydration promotes efficient blood flow and helps all the body’s muscles work effectively, requiring less heavy lifting by the heart.

How can I lower my heart rate?

Tracking your heart rate is an effective way to improve cardiovascular health, alongside a healthy diet, regular exercise, and developing healthy habits that will improve your overall quality of life.

Whether any of these factors are relevant to your daily life or not, it’s a good idea to take a step back and reflect on the lifestyle and daily habits you’ve developed throughout your life. Think about how they may affect your heart rate if it’s inexplicably high and what you can do to lower it.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the steps necessary to lower your heart rate, take small steps at first. 

The following information is designed to help healthy individuals make small adjustments in their lives to improve their heart rate and overall health. If you have symptoms or other concerns, please consult a healthcare professional before implementing any of these changes.

Start by increasing the amount of exercise you’re getting each week. Add two or three walks to your weekly schedule, whether in the morning before work or in the evening with a partner or your dog. Adding a few cardio exercises per week can greatly impact resting heart rate; it’s not a change you’ll see right away, but with time and commitment, you’ll notice the number dropping.

If you have a lot of stress in your life, take steps to reduce it in manageable ways. Many people swear by meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques like focused breathing, journaling, and mindful thinking.

Weight loss is one of the most effective ways to lower your resting heart rate. The larger the body is, the harder the heart has to work to pump blood and circulate oxygen. Consult with your doctor before beginning a weight loss plan, and set attainable goals that don’t feel overwhelming.

Other small steps you can take to lower your heart rate include getting adequate sleep, reducing caffeine intake and alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking.

Keep track of your health

Heart health is absolutely critical to living a long, happy life. An efficient cardiovascular system can help improve general health and make daily activities more enjoyable for people from all walks of life. 

Monitoring your heart rate may seem like a small action to take when it comes to the big picture, but it’s a great way to keep an eye on your cardiovascular health with minimal effort required.

Consistently measuring your heart rate can prevent bigger health problems down the road by staying proactive and knowing your numbers.

Are you looking for a way to keep track of your health and monitor daily metrics and important data points? With the Evidation app, you can get paid to take healthy actions on a daily basis and keep track of your health. Download the app today.

In the News
May 5, 2023

May is Celiac Awareness Month

9 minute read

May is Celiac Awareness Month - Did you know that celiac disease is one of the most common genetic disorders? Check out these facts and resources to learn more!

Did you know that 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease?

That’s roughly 1% of the population. And while that may not sound like much, it makes celiac disease one of the most common genetic diseases.

If we look beyond the US, that number increases even more. 1 in 100 people have celiac disease worldwide. And in recent years, those numbers are increasing rapidly.

According to,

“The rate of new diagnosis of celiac disease has increased 7.5 percent every year for the past few decades throughout the industrialized Western world, a new study by Lebwohl and colleagues from Canada, China and Sweden found.”

‍And because we’re always working to understand how well our community of Evidation Members represents the population as a whole, we wanted to know how many of them are currently living with this rapidly growing autoimmune disease.

We asked Evidation Members if they’d been diagnosed with celiac disease.

What did we discover?

Over 21,000 members responded to the question. And over 14 percent of those who responded answered yes.

That means, out of the 3 million Americans living with celiac disease, 3,000 of them are Evidation Members!

Of course that isn’t an accurate reflection of the population as a whole, but it is interesting to see the numbers and how our members align with the larger community.

What is celiac disease?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH),

“Celiac disease is a chronic digestive and immune disorder that damages the small intestine.”

It is a chronic, genetic, autoimmune disease that often leads to other diseases, and — if left untreated — results in increased hospitalizations and, in some cases, death.

Basically, in a person with celiac disease, the body sees gluten (a protein found in many common foods) as a threat. The immune system attacks the protein, and the small intestine is damaged in the process.

Over time, this leads to damage of other organs as well and numerous other serious health conditions.

This infographic from does a great job summarizing the condition.

Celiac at a Glance

When is celiac awareness month?

The entire month of May is Celiac Awareness Month. This is a time when people who have celiac and their friends and family get together to raise awareness about the disease.

Those who participate in the awareness month also work to raise money for more celiac research. The goal is twofold. First, advocates want to end the stigma and misinformation about it. Second, they’re working hard to help fund and find a cure.

Remember, knowing the current celiac definition is just the start. You also need to make sure people understand the disease’s impact and how to support those who have it within the local community.

What it’s like to live with celiac disease

For many, living with celiac requires nothing more than a change in diet. Technically.

But it’s not that simple in reality.

Today, it’s easier than ever to find gluten-free options, but it still means a total change in lifestyle. It means limited choices, embarrassment, and often isolation.

In fact, the social and psychological impacts of managing celiac disease are staggering. Often people with celiac choose to risk exposure rather than take on the burden of avoiding gluten. This leads to illness, hospitalization, increased medical expenses, and death.

Eating out is especially difficult. More often than not, individuals living with celiac disease have very limited options when dining out.

Like those with food allergies, even tiny traces of gluten can be enough to cause serious damage, so many restaurants are unable or unwilling to accommodate someone with celiac disease at all.

Those who can often have limited options, maybe a salad with no croutons or a burger with no bun. The risk of cross contamination is high though due to shared prep areas and cooking spaces.

Often individuals with celiac disease steer clear of social eating situations in order to avoid the weight of being a “burden.”

According to The Celiac Disease Foundation,

“The treatment burden of celiac disease is comparable to end-stage renal disease, and the partner burden is comparable to caring for a patient with cancer.”

Luckily, there are resources and advocates. More and more gluten-free options are available every day it seems. And, with education and acceptance, we can start to relieve some of the strain that comes with managing and living with this chronic condition.

infographic from Beyond Celiac addressing the impact of celiac as an invisible illness

Symptoms of celiac disease

One of the challenges doctors face when diagnosing celiac disease is the large list of symptoms. University Health News says there are 281 known symptoms of the condition. Due to this wide range of symptoms, 83% of people with celiac get misdiagnosed or remain undiagnosed.

While symptoms of the digestive system are common, the condition can affect nearly every bodily system. Here are some common symptoms.

Digestive symptoms

Problems with the digestive system are common for those with celiac. Celiac disease causes an immune system response that attacks the small intestine. Specifically, the disorder attacks the villi, which are small, finger-like projections that line the small intestines and absorb nutrients from the food. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, the villi shrink and become blunted.

The damage to the villi can cause problems such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Bloating and gas
  • Vomiting, sometimes severe
  • Delayed emptying of the stomach
  • Stomach cramping

If left untreated, celiac disease increases a person’s risk of developing more serious problems with the digestive system, including ulcers and stomach cancer.

Neurological and emotional symptoms

For some people, celiac affects the nervous system, not the digestive system. This often causes headaches, including severe migraines. It can also cause:

  • Brain fog
  • Numbness and neuropathy
  • Nerve pain
  • ADHD symptoms
  • Dementia
  • Motor tics
  • Autism-like symptoms
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

In addition, some people will develop a serious condition known as ataxia. Ataxia occurs when the immune system attacks the nervous system after eating gluten. This can lead to slurred speech, coordination problems, gait problems, and trouble controlling the eyes or limbs.

Bone and muscle problems

Celiac disease can cause problems with thinning bones. People may deal with joint or muscle pain with no clear cause. Discoloration of the teeth, especially if someone develops celiac before their adult teeth emerge, can occur. Others may notice problems with tooth enamel.

Growth and development concerns

Some parents notice the first symptoms of celiac when their child fails to grow as expected. Failure to thrive, an otherwise unexplained lack of development and growth, is common. Children may have developmental delays, not meeting expected milestones on time or experiencing delayed puberty.

Historically, doctors watched for children to be losing weight before considering celiac. However, new research has found that nearly 75% of children with the condition are actually overweight, so weight loss or low body weight isn’t the only condition to look for.

Nutrient deficits

The damaged villi caused by celiac disease make it difficult for people to absorb nutrients from their food. This can lead to nutrient deficits, including anemia and vitamin D deficiency. Malnutrition due to celiac can cause a number of other health concerns.

Skin conditions

Celiac disease can also affect the skin. Some people develop small, non-itchy bumps called follicular hyperkeratosis. Sores in the mouth are also common. An extremely itchy rash known as dermatitis herpetiformis is another rare but highly problematic symptom.

Other common symptoms

Some additional symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Spleen disorders
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures

Sometimes, celiac disease causes no symptoms at all. This phenomenon is sometimes called silent celiac. However, if the patient has the disease, the damage to the intestines is still occurring, even if they have no clear external symptoms.

Treatments for celiac disease

The only current treatment for celiac disease is following a strict gluten-free diet. Sometimes, the symptoms and secondary conditions, such as anemia, need additional treatment, but treating the celiac requires a lifetime of gluten-free living.

Avoiding gluten means avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and most oats. Sometimes, wheat is hidden in other ingredient names, such as:

  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Durum
  • Couscous
  • Semolina
  • Modified food starch

Working with a nutritionist who has celiac knowledge can help people with celiac find healthy substitutes for their favorite foods while ensuring that they’re eating a balanced diet in spite of the strict nature of the treatment.

While a lifetime of gluten-free living is challenging, today’s food companies have added many gluten-free products to their lineups. Even major snack food brands, like Oreo, are dipping into the gluten-free market. Eating gluten-free isn’t always easy, but it’s easier now than it was even a decade ago.

Once someone with celiac starts eating gluten-free, the intestines usually start to heal. Once the villi grow back, many of the symptoms will dissipate. However, this isn’t a cure. If the person accidentally eats some gluten, they’ll usually experience symptoms for a few days or weeks afterward.

Raising awareness for celiac disease in May

May is Celiac Awareness Month, and with it comes the opportunity to raise awareness of this common condition.

Whether you’re diagnosed with celiac or someone you know is affected, helping people around you understand celiac is a key factor in accepting the disease and learning to live with it. Here are some ways you can raise awareness during this important month.

  • Post educational content to social media – If you’re on social media, find memes from the Celiac Disease Foundation or Beyond Celiac websites, and post them to your social media pages.
  • Spread video content – Go on YouTube or another video streaming platform, and find videos from people who have celiac. Share these videos to show what living with the condition is like.
  • Reach out to government officials – The celiac disease community is constantly advocating for clearer labeling of gluten-containing ingredients on food packaging. Use May as a chance to send a letter to your government leaders to advocate for this concern. 
  • Leave brochures about celiac at school or work – Help people learn the facts about celiac by leaving reading material at your school or workplace, if allowed.
  • Change your profile picture – Add a green ribbon to your social media profile pages to advocate for celiac disease awareness.
  • Wear green – Green is the official color of celiac disease awareness. Find a t-shirt or bracelet you can wear multiple times in the month to advocate for more education and awareness of the disease and its treatment.
  • Make a gluten-free treat – Bring a gluten-free treat  to work or school. Let people taste how good gluten-free food can be.
  • Get tested - If you're dealing with any of the symptoms above, talk to your doctor about getting tested for celiac disease.
  • Run for celiac - During Celiac Awareness Month, you'll find virtual and in-person races to raise funds and money for celiac disease and its research. Consider taking part in one. You'll get more steps in your day while advocating for celiac disease treatments.

The more people who participate in Celiac Awareness Month, the more people will find themselves accepting those with celiac disease. The more people accept celiac, the greater number of options people will find for food and support within the community.

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