How’s my progress on the road to achieving a resting heart rate (RHR) as close to 40 beats per minute (bpm) as possible? Shown below is my RHR data for August 2018-Jan 2019, which corresponds to the 6-month period after I started tracking RHR. When compared with that period, am I still making year-over-year progress?
First, note that my Jan 2019 RHR value of 47.4 bpm seems dramatically reduced when compared with Aug-Dec 2018. My computer crashed in Jan 2019, and I lost 4 days of January 2019 RHR data, with remaining data for 27 days. Accordingly, I didn’t expect to be better than that, year-over-year. Nonetheless, my average RHR for Jan 2020 is 46.9 bpm, which is superficially better, but it isn’t statistically different from Jan 2019 (p = 0.13). However, my RHR is still going in the right direction!
What about my heart rate variability (HRV)? Relative to Jan 2019 (56.6), my HRV in Jan 2020 was significantly higher (76; p=0.003), but note that I didn’t additionally improve my HRV relative to December 2019 (86.3).
I’ve been consistent with my exercise program, including weekly workouts (3-4x, ~1 hr each session) and walking (15-20 miles), so are there other variables that may explain the sudden increase in HRV from Nov 2019-Jan 2020? During that time, I’ve been cutting my calorie intake by a small amount (~100-200 cals/day) below my body weight maintenance intake, with the goal of getting leaner. As a result, I’ve slowly decreased my body weight from 157 to 154 during that time. Although there is a weak negative correlation between my body weight with HRV (R2=0.0553), this association is statistically significant (p=0.024). So reducing body weight may have played a role in the sudden HRV increase:
For those who may have missed my other post updates for RHR and/or HRV:
Dec 2019 update: https://michaellustgarten.com/2020/01/01/resting-heart-rate-heart-rate-variability-december-2019-update/
Also, why a RHR as close to 40 bpm may be optimal: https://michaellustgarten.com/2019/02/02/resting-heart-rate-whats-optimal/
If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!