This February, in honor of Heart Health Awareness Month, we partnered with the data science team at Evidation to look at patterns of some of our heart healthiest members.
Resting heart rate (your pulse rate while awake, relaxed, and stationary) has been shown in several large epidemiologic studies to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in both men and women. Given the importance of resting heart rate for heart and overall health, the team looked at all of the Evidation Members who contributed resting heart rate data in 2018. We explored the trajectory of resting heart rate from week to week and selected a handful of members that significantly dropped their resting heart rate over the year. The individuals we selected had a wide range of resting heart rates to begin the year.
Of the members we selected, 96% were within the normal range of 60–100 beats per minute. According to the Harvard Health blog, “while a heart rate is considered normal if the rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, most healthy relaxed adults have a resting heart rate below 90 beats per minute.” Only 4% had resting heart rates below 60 beats per minute at the beginning of the year. Resting heart rates below 60 bpm are often indicative of people who get a lot of physical activity. Near the end of the year, over 30% had reduced their resting heart rate to 60 beats per minute or lower. Overall, we observed an average drop of 11 beats per minute, which corresponds to an average decrease of 15% from the beginning of the year.
We then asked these resting heart rate improvers to tell us a little bit more about what they did in order to better understand their habits throughout the year — everything from how often they checked their heart rate, to the frequency of their workouts, to dietary changes they had made throughout 2018.
Here’s what we found!
Most members who had a significant decrease in resting heart rate in 2018 also noticed the same thing!
Most of our heart healthy members said they checked their resting heart rate frequently — if not every day, then at least a few days per week.
The most common changes that Evidation Members made to their diet included the following:
- Adjusting their portion sizes
- Limiting consumption of fast food
- Consuming more vegetables and fruit
The most common types of physical activity included:
- Lifting weights
When we took a closer look at activity data, we actually saw an increase of 871 steps per day (12.3% increase) for members who had lowered their heart rate. Those who responded that they did more walking in 2018 truly did up their step count.
Evidation members overwhelmingly said that they had lost weight, made changes to their diet, exercised more often and regularly, and focused on maintaining a healthy weight when sharing some of the changes that they made to their lifestyle in 2018.
In fact, when we took a look at weight tracking for our heart healthy members, the data matched up with the responses. For those who tracked their weight at least once per week for 30 weeks or more, the average weight loss was 12 pounds (a 6% decrease on average).
Not surprisingly, mental health and improved sleep can significantly influence an individual’s overall quality of health. Did you know that sticking to a sleep schedule can help you improve your heart health?
Our community of heart healthy members have recommended to others the value of maintaining a healthy diet, exercising more, and managing stress as tips to improve heart health.
For advice on how to take action today to make your lifestyle a little healthier, check out these additional suggestions from some trusted sources: