Wellness Thursday – Back to the Heart

Health, Wellness and Posture Correction

I’ve been doing this Posture Thursday routine for a long time now, telling stories about all the unexpected benefits of my posture correction work. I’ve also been doing Yoga for Posture Mondays, where I break down exercises I use, or have used, in the process of fixing my back and my posture.

As I’ve expanded the base around these parts, branching into the related topics of ergonomics, nutrition and stress control, I’ve also looked back over the types of things I’ve written about on these Posture Thursdays and realized that is was about much more than just posture.

I’ve often noted that this is a health and wellness site, which is what I’ve really been writing about on Thursdays. One posture day is enough, so I’m going to make it official and rename Posture Thursday to Health and Wellness Thursday.

To kick off the newly branded Thursday, I’m going to return to a recent favourite of mine; resting heart rate.

Back in January, I started posting about my resting heart rate. My wife gave me a Fitbit for Christmas, and one of the statistics it tracks is resting heart rate. I’ve had my issues with the algorithm, I mean when it was telling me my RHR was 65 and at the same time my real time HR was 59, I knew something was a little off.

But, over the course of several months, it came into reasonably close alignment with the doctor’s Blood Pressure True machine, so even though it’s not dead on, it’s pretty good. Kind of like what Scott Adams talks about in directional truth vs absolute truth.


If your personal trainer tells you will help you lose 25 lbs this year, and after a year you’ve only lost 20, did he lie? Should you fire him, or sue him? Or does the fact you moved a long way in the right direction mean that his claim was basically true?

Anyway, I’m back on the subject of resting heart rate because I’ve been tracking mine for several months now, and I have a nice bit of data to draw conclusions from.

Back to Resting Heart Rate

My RHR is generally in the low 60s; in January, the Blood Pressure True test had it at 59, my Fitbit at 62. I’ll forgive the Fitbit for being a little off, because it was only a little. In addition, the first heart rate reading on the BPT machine was in the upper 70s, which also tracked with my Fitbit.

All of which is to say, while I don’t think the number given is exactly right, my Fitbit generally points in the right direction.

On to May.

In the back half of May, my life got a little stressful, and I watched my RHR track steadily upwards into the mid-high 60s range. When the stressful bits passed, it plummeted back down in a couple of days.

Then I had an absolutely terrible night’s sleep Monday, followed by a jump of 2 beats per minute on Tuesday. Tuesday and Wednesday nights I had good sleep, and each good night’s sleep was followed by a 1 bpm drop in my RHR.

Then I thought back over the stressful late May and realized I had been sleeping poorly through the period of elevated RHR.

Now, I don’t really have enough data to draw scientifically valid conclusions, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and claim:

  • Stress raises both your resting and active heart rates
  • Sleep deprivation, being a stressor, raises your resting heart rate
  • Heart health depends on stress control and good sleep
  • Lower RHR being associated with longer life means stress control and good sleep are two of the keys to longevity

I never particularly wanted a smart watch and I never really thought I’d need one. While those two things can remain true, it is also true that it has turned out to be a terrific tool for a number of things, including tracking my ticker.