Your heart is a remarkable organ within your body. It is the pulse that beats tirelessly, pumping blood and nutrients throughout the system it is in charge of. After over a decade in the health and fitness industry, it is still surprising that people underestimate just HOW important your cardiovascular wellness is.
Do you know what a good resting heart rate is for the average person? Or even those in shape? For the average, healthy adult the ideal resting heart rate typically falls between 60-100 bpm (beats per minute).
But what else is there when it comes to a good resting heart rate? Do you know how to measure it? Improve it? Or maybe you are curious as to other factors that help keep you ticking. Today, we will be diving into all of those answers and more.
Key Take Aways
Healthy Resting Heart Rate:
- A healthy resting heart rate typically falls between 60 and 100 bpm for most adults, but individual factors play a significant role.
Measuring and Interpreting Resting Heart Rate:
- Measure your resting heart rate easily and interpret it by considering your unique circumstances and any significant fluctuations.
Factors Influencing Resting Heart Rate:
- Resting heart rate can be influenced by age, fitness, medications, stress, sleep, and underlying health conditions, affecting cardiovascular wellness.
Table of Contents
- Understanding the Significance of Resting Heart Rate
- What is Considered a Healthy Resting Heart Rate?
- Defining Healthy Heart Rate Ranges
- Factors Affecting Individual Variations
- How to Measure and Interpret Your Resting Heart Rate
- Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring Resting Heart Rate
- Interpreting Resting Heart Rate Readings
- The Importance of Maintaining a Normal Resting Heart Rate
- How a Normal Heart Rate Supports Cardiovascular Wellness
- Implications of High and Low Resting Heart Rates
- Resting Heart Rate Guidelines for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts
- Unique Resting Heart Rate Patterns in Active Individuals
- Balancing Intensive Training and Rest for Athletes
- Factors Influencing Resting Heart Rate and Cardiovascular Wellness
- Age: How Resting Heart Rate Changes Over Time
- Fitness Level, Medications, and Other Influential Factors
- The Role of Stress, Sleep Quality, and Underlying Health Conditions
What's Considered a Healthy Resting Heart Rate?
For the general public, a healthy resting heart rate is an important indicator of how your cardiovascular system is doing. Most healthy adults have a resting BPM (beats per minute) of 60-100.
However, one important thing to consider is that healthy varies vastly from person to person. Different ages and fitness levels heavily impact your ideal range along with any medical conditions that a person may have.
While most adults fall between that 60-100 BPM range, there are outliers on either end. Athletes and people who are in great shape have been known to have resting heart rates in the 40-50 BPM area, which is absolutely incredible. On the other hand if you have a resting heart rate that is consistently above the 100 BPM limit, this may be an indication of potential health issues that should be discussed with someone in the healthcare industry.
How to Measure and Interpret Your Resting Heart Rate
Now that you know what to look out for in regards to your heart rate, it's time to figure out how to measure it.
Getting your resting heart rate is straightforward and relatively easy. Follow these steps that we honed in the field to help get a good baseline for your heart rate
- Find a quiet and comfortable spot: Sit or lie down in a relaxed position. After you find this spot, relax there for 2-3 minutes to let your heart rate calm down from any potential exertion that may have happened, like climbing stairs.
- Locate your pulse: Place the index and middle fingers of your right hand onto your left wrist. More specifically, right before your wrist turns into your palm below the thumb.
- Count the beats: Use a timer to count the number of beats you feel in 60 seconds. If you are unable to go for a full minute of counting, we recommend that you go for 20-30 seconds instead and multiply, as you will get a relatively accurate answer every time.
Making sure that you interpret your results PROPERLY is just as important as taking the proper pulse.
If your resting heart rate regularly falls near the average range for your age and health levels, that's a good sign. There are meant to be fluctuations since we are humans, not robots. However, if there are significant fluctuations each time you take your pulse, you may want to look into either the method that you are using to take the BPM or see a health professional.
The Importance of Maintaining a Normal Resting Heart Rate
If you are looking to keep your cardiovascular wellness in check, maintaining a normal resting heart rate is a must. A healthy cardiovascular system generally shows great blood circulation, which supports organ functions and recovery along with overall health. If your heart rate is healthy, it can also be an indicator of overall fitness level and potential health risks.
Having high resting heart rates has been shown to increase the strain on your heart which can contribute to conditions like hypertension and heart disease, like heart attacks. As discussed briefly above, a consistently aggressively low resting heart rate may also carry other health risks and concerns.
Regularly monitor your resting heart rate so that you can help identify and address potential health risks before they become a health concern or issue.
Resting Heart Rate Guidelines for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts
Athletes and those serious about their health and wellness often have different resting heart rates due to the kinds of lifestyles they lead. It is not uncommon for them to have a resting heart rate of 60 BPM or below. Even sub 50 bpm isn't out of the question. The reason for this is that these people have trained and conditioned their hearts to pump more efficiently, which helps with delivering oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.
It is important to remember that an athlete needs to strike a good balance between intense training and allowing their heart rate and body to recover properly. Overtraining and over taxation can lead to an elevated resting heart rate and an increased chance of injury.
Factors Influencing Resting Heart Rate and Cardiovascular Wellness
Several factors can influence your resting heart rate:
Age: As you age, your resting heart rate tends to decrease. This is due to younger people typically having more elastic and efficient heart muscles than older generations.
Fitness level: People who regularly exercise generally have a lower resting heart rate, as discussed above. Those who are fit have hearts that pump more blood per beat, reducing the need for your heart to work as hard at rest.
Medications: Certain medications, such as beta-blockers, can lower resting heart rate by blocking the effects of adrenaline on the heart. Other medications may have the opposite effect, raising heart rate as a side effect.
Stress: Stress is a known trigger for hormones like adrenaline, which causes a temporary spike in your resting heart rate. Chronic or long term stress may lead to an elevation in your resting heart rate, permanently.
Sleep quality: Poor sleep can disrupt the body's autonomic nervous system, leading to irregular heart rate patterns. Quality sleep is essential for maintaining a stable resting heart rate.
Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, can affect resting heart rate. These changes are often temporary and related to hormone levels.
Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders or cardiovascular diseases, can significantly impact resting heart rate. It's crucial to monitor and manage these conditions to maintain a healthy heart rate.
Understanding these factors and their impact on your heart rate can help you make informed decisions about your cardiovascular health.
When you get down to it, your resting heart rate is a valuable metric that provides insight into the well-being of your cardiovascular system.
By knowing and understanding what is considered healthy, how to measure it and interpret the results, and it's importance to your overall health, you will be able to take steps to optimize your wellness. It doesn't matter if you are an athlete or just someone who wants to live a little longer, monitoring your resting heart rate can be vital to your wellness routine.