Quarantine has been hard on my health.
Not just the mental stress fueled by the uncertainty of catching that vicious virus floating in the air.
But also the lack of opportunities to exercise my body.
I’m young, generally healthy.
But my body isn’t the athletic type.
My muscles shrink quickly.
And my body likes to retreat back to a weak, lethargic state if I don’t intentionally take care of it.
So, one month into quarantine.
I had tonsilitis without leaving my home.
20 days later, after I went through repeated fever and headache, my resting heart rate was always above 75.
For a 21-year-old, that wasn’t a good sign.
So I planned out a new schedule for myself to be healthy again.
Morning Running following the MAF method.
When I first started jogging, I pushed myself to get faster improvements.
My heart rate while running was often around 190.
However, I remained unproductive throughout the day.
Because I was exhausted from the morning run.
In a search to find a better solution.
I found the MAF training method by Dr. Phil Maffetone.
Instead of using distance or time as goals, MAF uses heart rate.
Instead of setting the maximum heart rate to 220 minus age, MAF lowers it to 180 minus age.
And modified the number further using specific rules.
This method is usually used by professional runners.
Using this method was very frustrating at first.
Slowing down while running when you could be faster is a terrible feeling.
However, the improvement was significant.
I’m no longer tired throughout the day.
My body stays energetic and light, and as a consequence, my productivity increased tremendously.
In terms of running frequency, I still kept it around 5 times per week.
Just after two weeks, I’m running faster and longer at a lower heart rate.
Sleep at the right time
Then I looked into my culture for some health wisdom.
According to Chinese medicine, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., the body starts to relax and gets ready to sleep and by 11 p.m., it’s time to sleep.
As someone who usually sleeps after 1 a.m., I needed more proves on this to make a schedule change.
I come back to the more rigorous medical researches and found that — being a night owl is linked to higher blood pressure, higher likelihood to develop diabetes, and even a clear 10% higher risk in dying early.
So I implemented my new sleeping schedule immediately.
Personally, sleeping early makes me feel fully recharged with fewer hours of sleep.
Instead of being nap-dependent even after 8 hours of sleep.
Now I don’t need to take naps with only 7 hours of sleep.
Breathing and yoga
A combination of breathing exercises and yoga helped me with this schedule change.
Before I sleep, I work through a 20 mins yoga breathing exercise to calm my mind.
Since I have an Alo Moves subscription, I love to take one of the classes in Dylan Werner’s “The Breath Sequence”.
Before getting the subscription, Youtube was my go-to source.
When I get really energetic at night or trapped in the mechanical scrolling through social media.
I force myself to do some simple breathing exercises and I’m instantly ready for sleep.
In terms of yoga, I normally do it after a morning run or on the days I don’t run.
Yoga focuses on the alignment of the spinal cord.
The better the alignment, the healthier the body function.
So although 20 minutes of yoga per day is already effective for me.
I hope I can put more time into it in the future.
Since the title of this article is about resting heart rate.
I think it’s only fair for me to talk about it a little bit more.
Research has shown the effectiveness of fish oil in helping to decrease resting heart rate.
And cardiovascular-related issues. (Of course, eating fish is just as effective.)
Although these supplements are available everywhere.
I recommend checking with health professionals before taking them.