Fitness Trackers

Resting heart rate seems to be at least a measure of health in some way, but could contribute to longevity as well. I’ve had medical friends suggest that there is a limit to the number of beats your heart can beat in its lifetime.

What I’ve noticed from my fitbit is that if I drink alcohol, I will have higher resting heart rate for a couple days. Same is true if I eat high carbohydrate meals. I’m insulin dependent diabetic and have noticed that if my blood sugar goes slightly low in my sleep, I will wake up and my fitbit will show an elevated heart rate.

To an extent, this is all just telling me what I already know: Being more fit is good. But resting heart rate can also serve as an second marker to other measurements. Thinking about the mechanisms could provide insights or creative theroes to explore in other ways. Why does heart rate go up when sugar drops below ideal? Probably because your cells aren’t getting their expected glucose so they kick up heart rate to compensate. Why does hear rate get very elevated if you have very high glucose? My guess is that high glucose caused by low insulin is similar to low glucose in that cells can’t get glucose into them.


Love your thinking. Understanding various parameters such as resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and context dependent changes in heart rate can be very revealing in terms of longevity as well as understanding our every day physiology and metabolism.

I am particularly interested in understanding how we can use these metrics as biofeedback mechanisms to cultivate a more intimate relationship with all that’s going on within the “black box” of our bodies and enhance our quality of life. There may be a relationship between the number of heart beats in a lifetime and an organisms maximal lifespan, but to me the relationship between the behavior of our heart and quality of life is even more interesting. Especially intriguing is what it can tell us about subconscious processes that drive behavior. There is some great emerging research on the tight relationship between how external stimuli influence our viscera but also how the behavior of our viscera influences our everyday choices and behaviors.

What can it tell us about the way we stress? Quality of our sleep? Exercise? Diet? The social relationships we have with other people? And how does mapping all this out in a personalized manner influence the quality of our lives and healthspan?

The heart is just one organ. I would love to see the day when we can map the personalized relationship between the behaviors of all (78?) of our organs as it pertains to day to day activities, habits, the relationships we form with people, and our healthspans