Fitbit today shared insights gleaned from anonymised and aggregated global user data, with the key highlight that Singaporean users’ resting heart rate – a key indicator of heart health – improved from January to April 2020, despite a significant decrease in overall daily step count due to Circuit Breaker restrictions on movement.

The average resting heart rate in Singapore lowered (improved) across all demographics, but this improvement was more pronounced for younger users between 18 – 29 years old, and in female users.

Many of us have been experiencing a slower pace of life during the circuit breaker period. Based on the findings, Singaporeans seem to be finally getting some of the much-needed sleep that they need – this increase in sleep duration could be why there is an improvement in heart health. The findings on resting heart rate of Singaporeans were very encouraging and is an indication that health and wellness remains a priority, especially among individuals who track their health using wearables.

Sophia Goh, professional counsellor and psychotherapist at Sofia Wellness Clinic

Change in resting heart rate from January to April 2020

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What is resting heart rate, you ask? It is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are still and at rest. This metric can be an important indicator of your fitness level and overall heart health.

Not only can it be used to track your fitness level, but it can also alert you of potential health issues such as illness, high-stress levels, sleep deprivation, dehydration, overtraining, and underlying medical conditions.

To better understand how Fitbit users’ lifestyle behaviours may be impacting resting heart rates, Fitbit took a deeper look at measures like sleep time and bedtime variability.

At a time where the majority of the population were stuck indoors, physical activity has shown a decrease in step count (by 2,240 steps a day) and active minutes (by 3.66 minutes a day).

The active minute is a metric that factors in your body mass and is used to estimate exercise intensity. These trends would typically lead to an increase in resting heart rate – however, the opposite is being observed here, which is positive news, but is also an indicator that there are more factors at play here.

Avg change in activity behaviour from January to April across all ages

Two trends that could be contributing to the decline in resting heart rate for users are:

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  1. Longer sleep hours: Singaporeans’ average sleep duration has increased, where they are getting 19.21 additional minutes of sleep every night. This is great news, especially because not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on resting heart rate. Not getting enough sleep is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  2. Improvements in bedtime variability: During normal times, people (particularly young people) tend to go to bed later on the weekends, often leading to social jet lag, which can impact heart health. However, Singaporeans have been going to bed at a more consistent time, where data has shown that they have reduced their bedtime variability by 8.2 minutes.

Avg change in sleep behaviour from January to April across ages

Overall, the findings on the resting heart rate of Singaporeans were very encouraging and is an indication that health and wellness remains a priority even while people have remained largely indoors.

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