I recently came across a theory called the “Heartbeat hypothesis”. It basically suggests that every living creature has a limited number of heartbeats before death/failure occurs. Also, several studies have shown that a lowered basal heart rate equates to longevity.
Some people have taken this heartbeat hypothesis and applied it in a very interesting way.
“So if I don’t do any physical activity and keep my heart rate low, I should be enjoying a longer life! Exercise like running increases my heart rate to crazy levels over long periods. I am sure to die earlier by exercising!”
The above does sound rather logical but it doesn’t take into account the lower basal heart rate that fit and healthy people enjoy. We also don’t really need a lot of time doing exercise anyway.
I had a rather sedentary lifestyle in February and didn’t run at all for 6 months before that. As for now, I am running an average 271 minutes a week, which is tougher and way higher than the health ministry’s recommended 150 mins of moderate-intensity cardio exercise.
Here’s a simple but fair comparison of myself to find out the amount of beats my heart had over a period of 30 days.
There are many real world factors that can influence both numbers in bold, but most of them only make the gap between the two larger. For example, walking used to raise my heart rate to about 110 but I hover around 90 now. Same activity, less effort.
Increase fitness also made my heart recover to resting rates much faster. A 800m dash to 178 beats per minute (bpm) would have needed 400m of light jogging before I recover to 136 bpm. Now, I get to 136 bpm in 150m.
So if you do believe in the heartbeat hypothesis, why not pick up a good cardio exercise like running and watch your resting/basal heart rate plummet in the best of ways?