Healthy Choices

Resting Heart Rate Predicts Heart Problems

A recent study of nearly 130,000 postmenopausal women found a resting heart rate of 76 beats per minute or higher increased risk of heart attack and death. There is also a link between resting pulse and heart attack risk in men.

Activities such as brisk walking, biking, aerobics and active sports strengthen the heart and lower resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate will drop as much as 10–20 beats per minute when going from little activity to being physically active for at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week.

How to Take Your Pulse

Resting heart rate is an easy test you can do on yourself. Check your resting pulse and compare it with the chart here to determine your risk. To check your pulse, sit quietly. Find your pulse on the thumb side of the wrist between the bone and tendons on the inner wrist. Check your pulse for a full minute, or half a minute and multiply by two.

For Best Health, Sleep at Least 7 Hours

Worldwide, over seven million deaths occur each year due to high blood pressure. In the United States, one out of every three adults has high blood pressure. New research indicates lack of adequate sleep may contribute to this major health problem. One recent study found each hour of reduction in sleep duration increased the risk of developing high blood pressure by 37 percent in both men and women. In another study, people who got five hours of sleep daily, compared to the recommended 7–8 hours, were 60 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure over the 8–10 years of follow-up.

If you want to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range (less than 120/80 for best health), get adequate rest daily. Aim for at least 7–8 hours of sleep daily. Taking a midday nap can also be helpful in reaching your 7–8 hours.

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September 01, 2009 / Health