Our rest is sinking

The rest of the population has declined by ten beats per minute in recent decades

Our rest is sinking

Since the lower rest rate is mainly linked to a healthier lifestyle, this can be a good sign, Ekaterina Sharashova believes at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UiT, Norway’s Arctic University in Tromsø.

Figures from the Tromsø survey show that our resting pulse has fallen by ten beats per minute in the past two decades.

Study from Tromsø

The Tromsø survey is a major population study, every 6. -8. Years ago, 1976 collected data on the health of people from Tromsø.

At each survey, randomly selected residents in Tromsø have undergone physical examinations, taken blood samples and responded to health-related questions.

– Data collection procedures were about the same throughout all surveys, and many of the participants have participated in several surveys. These data are therefore unique when you want to study the changes in the health of the population over time, says Sharashova.

The rest pulse has fallen

Information about resting heart rate is available from the last four studies from 1986 to 2007.

– We analyzed data from men and women aged 30 years and over, who participated in at least one of the four surveys. The figures show that the resting pulses have had a remarkable decline over these 22 years, she says.

As a result, the rest of the body has fallen at about ten beats per minute for each age group, a little less in men and a little more in women.

– Data from those reporting on the use of blood pressure medicine have been removed and therefore have no effect on the outcome. The pattern was also unchanged when looking at data from those who participated in all four surveys, she says.

Do not know why

Although this may be a good sign, researchers can not say anything for sure about the reason why the resting penny has fallen.

– We really found no reason for the decline. Only 20 percent of the reduced rest period can be explained by favorable changes in risk factors, such as lower blood pressure, smoking cessation and lower cholesterol, she says..

The other 80 percent found no explanation for the researchers.

And if we look at those who started smoking during the study period, the resting pace also fell with them, although less noticeable than those who stopped, never smoked or kept smoking, she says.

Dietary changes and less stress can be explained by the decline, but researchers do not have enough data to check if this is the case.

Difficult to understand

– I have a little hard to understand this result. The fact that you get a lower resting pulse usually means that you have been better trained, but this is not the case in general in the population, says Jan Helgerud.

He is a sports physiologist and professor at the Faculty of Medicine at NTNU.

Helgerud emphasizes that the outcome of the study depends on the selection of persons studied in 2007 similar to those investigated in 1986.

The age and gender composition must also be the same.

– The rest of the rest is very easy to understand. There should be no big differences in the measurement situation before the resting pulse changes. Just knowing that you are being investigated can lead to an increased rest rate, “he says.

Fewer smoker

Helgerud argues that it is unlikely that the fall at rest is due to the fact that the Norwegian people have been better trained during the two decades.

– As a population, we have become nine kilos heavier on average, and youth sit more on the back here in the country than most other places. Ten beats per minute are remarkable, there had been something else if it was only two or three strokes, he says.

Nevertheless, he confirms that there have been some health changes in a positive direction since 1986.

– Perhaps some of the explanation may be that in 1986 there were far more smokers among the investigators. One of the weaknesses of such surveys is that they do not reveal the causal link. You’re just sitting with the statistics that say how the condition was and is, but do not know why that’s the way, he says.

Looking for the reason

Sharashova confirms that it is common to think that the lower heart rate one has, the better the shape is in.

You can reduce the resting pulse by

  • Be more physically active
  • Do not smoke
  • Eat healthy and balanced
  • Avoid stress

Source: Ekaterina Sharashova

– Essentially, this is true, for people who are in physical activity usually have a lower resting heart rate. Smokers, on the other hand, have higher rest rates, she says.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to put this explanation in conjunction with Tromsø’s results.

– Important numbers are as full. Finding from several international studies suggests that increased heart rate is strongly associated with high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. Furthermore, elevated rest periods increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, says Sharashova.

She adds that it is now working to analyze the relationship between rest and the risk of various diseases.

Important Research

– To plan preventive measures and reduce the number of sheep and dying of cardiovascular disease, we need to know how the condition is now – ie the occurrence of the disease, risk groups and causes, she says.

Although cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in the world, according to Sharashova, the fact is that there have been fewer cases in many countries in recent decades.

This also applies to Norway.

– Examination of resting heart rate and other risk factors, as well as putting them in context with each other, is important for interpreting changes in morbidity and mortality. It is also important to say something about the future and to formulate effective preventive measures, she says.



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