What is resting heart rate?
A heart rate or pulse is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Heart rate varies person to person and during different activities. A resting heart rate is the pulse rate at rest.
What is a healthy resting heart rate?
A normal resting heart rate can range anywhere between 60-100 beats per minute (bpm). However, a heart rate under 60, termed bradycardia, is not necessarily a health issue and can be a sign of cardiovascular fitness. A resting heart rate over 100bpm is termed tachycardia. A healthy resting heart rate for most individuals is within the range of 50-70bpm.
What does a resting heart rate tell us?
A resting heart rate is a measurement of heart efficiency. During exercise, there is a high demand for blood, so the heart must pump more quickly. However, when at rest (sitting or laying down) the heart does not have to meet such a high demand and therefore heart rate should be much lower. In a well-trained individual- the heart rate will be lower because the heart has become efficient at pumping large amounts of blood with each pump. If the heart rate is high at rest, this tells us that there is either increased demand, the heart is not pumping very efficiency, or perhaps the contents of the blood are low and more volume blood is needed. We see the last scenario in conditions such as iron deficient anemia as iron is needed to help deliver oxygen throughout the body.
What impacts your heart rate?
Several different factors impact your resting heart rate including:
- Fitness level
- Cardiovascular health
- Stress levels
- Smoking status
- Nutrient status
- Body weight
Most fitness trackers like Apple Watch, Fit Bit, or other smart watches provide both heart rate and a resting heart rate number. Make sure to look at the resting heart rate. If this number is above 80bpm you can work to optimize this number by reducing stress, checking nutrient status, and improving cardiovascular fitness. If your resting heart rate is over 100bpm chat with your healthcare provider.
Make sure to check in with your doctor before making changes to your health. Everyone has unique health characteristics and needs.