Keeping track of your heart rate is probably a good thing. Obsessing about it probably isn’t, according to the American Heart Association.
That’s one drawback of the increasing popularity of wearable devices that constantly monitor heart rates, said Dr. Tracy Stevens, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri.
“I’ve had people suffer significant injuries when they’re trying to check their heart rate while exercising,” she said. “They take a hand off their treadmill and shoot right off the back and fall off.”
Even without a monitor, the preoccupation can have consequences.
“They’ll push too hard on their carotid arteries to check their pulse, which instigates a reflex that drops their blood pressure, and they pass out,” Stevens said. People shouldn’t put “too much emphasis on a number.”
A 2013 study published in the journal Heart of nearly 3,000 men in Denmark showed the risk of death increased by 16% for every 10 beats per minute increase in resting heart rate. But Stevens said she is far more focused on high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and other risk factors for heart disease.
I thought this survey of Fitbit users from last year was a good place to start. I have never used a Fitbit, but I love my Apple Watch and recommend using a wearable to help you focus on your health daily. I like that 79% said their Fitbit tracker helped them to reach their daily step goal. Check it out.
Couldn’t resist a chance to run this picture of a bike – parked and ready to ride.
As you can see on my Apple Watch face the top ring shows how many calories I have burned, the yellow ring how many minutes I exercised and the green ring how many times I have stood up from sitting. The rings fill in throughout the day as I complete my exercise.
I hope you and your loved ones have your best year ever in 2017!
I wrote just three days ago in my post on sleep mistakes, “Sleep is one of the truly under-appreciated aspects of living a long and healthy life….” So, I sympathize with anyone taking steps to improve their sleep. It turns out, however, that using some of the new devices can have a negative impact on your overnight rest. The following is from the Rush University Medical Center.
A 39-year-old man whom we’ll call Mr. R received a sleep-tracking device from his girlfriend. Since starting a new job several years earlier, he sometimes had trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Not surprisingly, the next day he’d feel tired, irritable and absentminded.
A man sleeping
Based on data generated by his girlfriend’s gift, Mr. R concluded those symptoms occurred only after he failed to get eight hours of sleep the night before. He set himself an ambitious goal: “to achieve,” as he later told a therapist, “at least eight hours of sleep every night.”
His gauge for deciding whether he had succeeded: his new sleep tracker. And so each night, Mr. R went to bed feeling the pressure of ensuring that the next morning the tracker would display the desired eight hours — a self-induced level of increasing anxiety that’s hardly the ideal recipe for achieving a sound night’s sleep.