Maintaining small, healthy habits can make a big difference in your overall health and fitness according to latest Fitbit research.
The San Francisco company has a huge database of anonymized step counts, active minutes, resting heart rate, sleep duration, and BMI from its user base. In its latest study, Fitbit tapped into this information and paired it with public health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on rates of disease in the US to give us some interesting insights.
As expected, the research shows that higher than average activity levels are typically linked to lower health problems. Increasing your physical activity and breaking up long blocks of sedentary time improves your blood pressure, reduces your risk of diabetes and has numerous other benefits. Even small changes such as adding a walk at lunch or after dinner can lead to improved cardiovascular risk, better mental clarity, increased energy and improved sleep.
Those living in the Northeast and Midwest will be happy to know they have the lead in average daily steps and active minutes, and typically the lowest resting heart rates. Fitbit data shows that residents of Wisconsin take the most steps per day (8,759 on average), and have some of the lowest rates of heart disease and diabetes among all states. Hawaii has the lowest resting heart rate overall (67 beats per minute on average) and the third-lowest percentage of overweight or obese adults (58%).
Resting heart rate (RHR) is one of the best indicators of your cardiovascular health and fitness. Weighing too much or too little can weaken your heart as can inactivity. An extra 15-20 minutes of activity per day is all that it takes to lower your RHR.
Luckily, new advances in technology have made it easier than ever to keep track of your RHR. A number of activity trackers that will automatically do this for you. They will also provide you with a historical record which you can tap into to see how your readings are changing over time.
Essential reading: Lower your resting heart rate with wearables
The correlation comes as no surprise and also works the other way. People who live in Southern states are the least active, had the highest resting heart rates, and the highest incidences of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
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