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Resting Heart Rate

In last month’s blog post, we talked about goal-setting and how important it is to choose the right goals for your health and/or weight loss journey.  In short – it’s important to look deeply to discover what you really want (instead of choosing something more superficial as a proxy goal).  For example, if a pants size or a number on the scale is your goal simply because it’s a proxy for some deeper-set, truer-to-you goal, you may find yourself quickly losing motivation after an initial burst of commitment.

We got lots of positive feedback from this blog post, but also a few questions – such as, what are some examples of deep, authentic goals that can help keep me sustainably on my journey?

While we shared some quick examples in last month’s post (e.g. being able to hike Macchu Pichu, having more stamina while playing with kids/grandkids, improving health), I wanted to share another example that hits home for many patients.

It’s improving your resting heart rate (RHR).

Your resting heart rate, according to scientists and doctors, can reflect your current and future health.  It can help identify potential health problems, as well as gauge your current heart health (when taken in context with a number of other markers).  Even better – it’s easy to measure, and is responsive to sustainable actions you take to improve your health.

Studies have shown that a high resting heart rate is correlated with lower physical fitness, higher blood pressure, higher weight and higher levels of circulating blood fats.  Further, an elevated resting heart rate has been shown to be a risk factor for mortality.

In contrast, a lower resting heart rate (in many cases) indicates higher levels of physical fitness, and reduced rates of cardiac events like heart attacks.  There are some exceptions to this, especially if a low RHR is associated with dizziness or fatigue, so be sure to check with your provider to set the right RHR target for you.

We love using RHR as one measurement of progress throughout your health and weight loss journey (and beyond).  Here’s why:

First, it’s easy to measure.  Tips for measuring RHR:

Second, if you have a regularly high RHR, you can influence it with sustainable inputs, including exercise, keeping your cholesterol levels at bay, and reducing stress levels.  Tips for lowering your RHR sustainably:

Finally, each person’s ideal RHR may be unique.  Talk with your healthcare provider about what’s right for you, taking into consideration your current RHR, your age, fitness level, goals and more.


Does this blog post resonate with you?  Do you have more questions about goal setting, resting heart rate, or anything else?  Drop us a comment below or set up an appointment with one of our providers directly!

Mariel Ilardi  Mariel became a weight loss coach with SMWL after being a patient herself -- having lost 65 pounds through the program! In addition to coaching SMWL patients, Mariel is the founder and CEO of Haven Coaching, an executive and career coaching company.

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