Got 60 seconds? That’s how long it’ll take for a do-it-yourself test to see whether you’re at high risk for a heart attack.
Heart disease is the world's leading cause of death. It’s primarily caused by high blood pressure and fatty deposits that harden and block arteries. And studies show that the surest way to know whether we’re on the fast track toward heart trouble is to measure our resting heart rate. To do that, all you need is a chair, and a clock with a secondhand.
After you’ve been sitting still for several minutes, find your pulse on the inside of your wrist. And count the number of beats in 60 seconds. A “normal” resting heart rate should be around 65 beats per minute. While the higher your resting heart rate is, the higher your risk of dying of a heart attack.
In long-term studies, people with a resting rate of 80 beats per minute die four to five years earlier than those with rates of 65. A high rate can also be an indicator of other diseases, including Type 2 diabetes.
So, what’s the best way to lower our resting heart rate? Regular exercise.
That means, at least 30 minutes on most days. Moderate aerobic exercise – like jogging, biking or swimming – speeds up our heartbeat. And doing that on a regular basis makes our heart more efficient. So, it doesn’t have to pump as many times to send blood around the body.
Other ways to lower our resting heart rate – and improve our odds of avoiding a heart attack - include: Not smoking. And sitting as little as possible. Instead, experts recommend we pace while we’re on the phone, and jog in place during TV commercials.