Category Archives: Heart Rate Variability

Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability: December 2019 Update

In earlier posts, I reported year-over-year improvements for my resting heart rate (RHR), from 51.5 (bpm) when I first started tracking in August 2018 to 48 bpm in November 2019 (https://michaellustgarten.wordpress.com/2019/12/05/resting-heart-rate-heart-rate-variability-still-making-progress/). Did my year-over-year RHR improvement continue in December 2019?

As shown below, in December 2018, my average RHR was 49.5 bpm. In December 2019, it was 47.5! These data are significantly different (p=6.5E-05):

rhr dec 2019

While RHR is one metric of cardiovascular health, heart rate variability (HRV) is another. With a stronger heart, the expectation would be a lower RHR, but a higher HRV. December 2019 was my best month ever for HRV, with an average HRV value of 86.3!

hrv 12 2019

Also note that December 2019’s HRV value is significantly different when compared with December 2018 (p=1.6E-11).

How am I able to continuously improve my RHR, and recently, my HRV? I average 15-20 miles of walking per week, and 3-4 days/week of structured exercise (1 hr/session), including a combination of weights, core, and stretching. My average HR during my structured workouts had been ~105 bpm prior to the past few months, but in November and December 2019 I made more of an effort to minimize rest periods, and included higher reps to keep my exercise HR as high as possible. My goal is to get my RHR to 40 bpm, which is associated with maximally reduced risk of death for all causes (https://michaellustgarten.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/resting-heart-rate-whats-optimal/). Stay tuned for more RHR and HRV data next month!

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability: Still Making Progress?

Although many of my posts aimed at improving health and longevity are focused on diet, in this post I’ll show data that demonstrates that I’ve been able to steadily improve my cardiovascualr fitness. In earlier posts I reported that a resting heart rate (RHR) of 40 beats per minute (bpm) was associated with lowest risk for all-cause mortality (https://michaellustgarten.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/resting-heart-rate-whats-optimal/), and I noted my own RHR progress in a year-over-year update, from values of 51.5 – 52.7 bpm in August – Sept 2018 to 49.3 – 48.7 bpm during the same months in 2019 (see https://michaellustgarten.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/resting-heart-rate-year-over-year-update/). Have I continued to make progress?

Shown below are 2 more months of RHR data, from August – November 2018, and the data for those months in 2019:
rhr 4 moFrom August – November 2018, I reduced my RHR from ~52 to 50 bpm, whereas in 2019, I made smaller progress, but the trend is still downward, from 49 to 48 bpm. The 2018 data is significantly different from the 2019 data, as assessed by single-factor ANOVA (p = 8E-14).

Adding strength to these findings is that my heart rate variability (HRV), as a second index of cardiovascular health, has increased during the same period:

hrv2Note that from August – November 2018, my average daily HRV value never topped 48, whereas during the same 4 months in 2019, it was never lower than 52.1, with my best ever HRV values found in November. The 2018 is significantly different when compared with 2019, again based on single-factor ANOVA (p = 5.2E-13).

How am I improving my cardiovascular fitness? That’s a topic for another post, but note that my strength is still pretty good, as evidenced by my 12 pull-ups in the video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLktQvFz70Q

If you’re interested, have a look at my book!