How does one strengthen his heart? You might wonder because your doctor recently told you to be careful to prevent any cardiac fatigue, or because you need to lose quite a bit of weight but want to avoid cardiac complications, or because you just want to improve your athletic performance and endurance. Let’s see how you can beef up your heart and assess your progress.
Want to have a strong heart?
When it comes down to self-tracking, blood pressure and the resting heart rate are very relevant body data to monitor.
- First of all, it tells you how well your heart – one of your vital organs – is doing.
- Secondly, by measuring it regularly at home you get more accurate readings as you avoid the white-coat effect (seeing the doctor often triggers a momentary systolic hypertension). This is an important information, as a misdiagnosed patient might end up taking medication he shouldn’t take…
“Seeing the doctor often triggers a momentary systolic hypertension”
1. The first device that comes to mind
Now that you know self-tracking your BP is best, you may ask yourself “How can I track my blood pressure and my resting heart rate at home?”. It is commonly accepted that the most accurate device you can use to self-measure your BP is the humeral sphygmomanometer cuff (better than wrist cuffs).
It’s basically the same cuff doctors use with a stethoscope (auscultatory method), but with an added electronic pressure sensor. Of course this technique dating back to 1876 has since been updated.
The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor offers a 21st century version of this essential medical device. It puts BP self-tracking at hand, giving you the following body data:
- Systolic pressure (the physical force developed when the heart muscle is contracting),
- Diastolic pressure (the blood pressure occurring right after the contraction of the heart, while the heart’s chambers refill),
- Heart rate (the number of heart beats per minute)
Your readings are conveniently sent to your Withings Health Cloud, stored depending on the time of the day and made readily available on the Withings Health Mate web dashboard, as well as on your smartphone and tablet.
If you set out to strengthen your heart your BP is going to be a good indicator, as well as your resting heart rate (over time) – but they won’t tell you precisely how to achieve cardiovascular fitness.
What is a healthy fat mass percentage?
- For adults between 20 and 40 years old, a normal fat mass percentage ranges between 9 and 21% for men, and between 21 and 35% for women.
- For people between 41 and 60 years old, a normal fat mass percentage ranges between 11 and 23% for men, and between 22 and 36% for women.
- For adults between 61 and 80 years old, a normal fat mass percentage ranges between 12 and 25% for men, and between 23 and 37% for women.
What is a healthy resting heart rate?
- A resting heart rate of around 40-50 beats a minute is the sign of a very healthy and athletic heart.
- For adults the average healthy resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100.
- If you measure less than 60 BPM or more than 100 BPM at rest, on a regular basis, consult your doctor – you might suffer from (respectively) bradycardia or tachycardia.
Time to take action!
Once you start tracking this body data and decide to act upon it to have a positive impact on your heart’s condition, you might want to loose some fat exercising and to eat less salt for example. To track these aspects of your lifestyle – indirectly related to your heart’s health – you need something more than the Blood Pressure Monitor.
2. Two ideal complementary devices
Withings also offers 2 other connected devices that can measure your heart rate. Knowing that you are more likely to keep on tracking if the data is collected seamlessly, without changing your habits, the Withings Pulse and the Smart Body Analyzer might very well be relevant for you.
- The Withings Pulse lets you take your pulse whenever you want, in seconds. As you carry it around, you just need to whip it out anytime you want to measure your heart rate. Do it right after waking up and the Pulse will give you your resting heart rate.
The Pulse is more than a simple heart rate monitor, it’s also a great activity tracker. You can take advantage of it to motivate yourself to get active and gradually increase your activity level. And as we all know, exercising is a good way to strengthen you heart.
- The Smart Body Analyzer (also known as the WS-50) is a body scale, but not only. Our new flagship smart scale is indeed the most advanced of its kind. Of course it measures your weight (and body composition), but it also monitors indoor air quality and on top of that, it’s the first ever scale to measure your heart rate through your feet.
“It’s the first ever scale to measure your heart rate through your feet”
Step on the WS-50 from time to time, in the morning, right after waking up. This will automatically shape a “resting heart rate” graph giving you some insight on your heart’s strength and some feedback about the efficiency of your efforts.
You can also look at the evolution of your body composition (the “fat mass / lean mass” ratio) to assess if your are getting healthier.
3. A partner apps to complete your heart’s fitness tracking
Pick Digifit’s iCardio (one of our partner apps) to track your “multi-sport heart rate monitor training”. Among other things it offers voice feedback, customizable splits, in-workout pictures. Beyond regular cardio training, iCardio also tracks “elliptical, rowing, Spin and other cardio exercises, indoors or out”.
The iCardio app lets you track your weight and blood pressure (automatically synced from your Withings account), as well and sleep information “for a true sense of overall health”.
4. One step beyond into the Internet of Everything
You can create causality links to help you lose weight. Sounds geeky? Imagine that“Achieving your weight loss goal” is a trigger. You can easily program an IFTTT recipe that will automatically initiate an action like unlocking your fridge or simply writing down your success in Evernote, when you reach your weight loss goal.
- How IFTTT works
- The list of all “IFTTT x Withings” recipes
- The most useless/useful “IFTTT x Withings” recipes
- Super-charge your Withings experience
Want to get the big picture of your health…
- From a weight point of view? It’s in part 1
- From a lifestyle point of view? It’s in part 3
- From a sleep quality point of view? It’s in part 4
Want more? Here are some impressive testimonials
- Withingers using MyFitnessPal
- Withingers using RunKeeper
- Withingers using LoseIt
- The Withings Weight Loss Hall of Fame
- Stories of people who have lost a lot of weight thanks to their Withings scale.