Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate is the number of times a heart beats in one minute while you are at rest. This is also a vital sign to assess your fitness and medical condition as it is directly related to these 2 factors.

Normal Resting Heart Rate

For a healthy person the resting heart rate should ideally be 70 bpm (beats per minute) in men and 75 bpm in women. However, it can range anywhere from 60 to 100 bpm. This range would be from 40 to 100 in case of sports persons. In case of athletes and other dynamic sportspersons, heart is more efficient in pumping more blood with each beat; hence the lower rate.

Resting Heart RateWhen and How to Measure?

As this measurement is a vital indicator of your health and fitness, you should measure it on periodic basis. It needs to be measured just 2 to 3 minutes after waking and still lying in the bed. In case you missed this time, then you should at least rest for 10 minutes before you take this reading. You can take either the carotid or radial pulse measurement easily.

•    In order to take the carotid pulse, keep your index and middle fingers on the neck besides your windpipe. Press gently to feel the pulse and then count the beats for a minute.

•    Radial pulse can be measured from your wrist. Place your index and middle finger in the underside of the opposite wrist and press gently at the base of the thumb to feel the pulse. Count this pulse for a minute to measure your resting heart rate.

Use either of these methods to calculate the Resting Heart Rate manually. Else it can be still more easier if you have a heart rate monitor watch, wrist band or heart rate monitor facility in your Smartphone.

Factors Involved

Though the average resting heart rate for a normal healthy person is between 60 and 100, slight variations can occur based on few influencing factors. The rate also varies from person to person with change in the size of your body, heart, temperature, activity level, fitness, emotions and position of our body. Below given is a list of factors which can possibly bring in a small deviation in the resting heart rate measurements.

1.    Overloading – when your body is subjected to a heavy exercise or training, heart rate might be varying in order to adapt to the load. It may also be due to overloading your body with severe exercise routines.

2.    Illness or Fatigue – an underlying illness of your body or simple fatigue cause due to extortion can also be the agent for increase in the measurement.

3.    Caffeine or Medication – certain medicines and too much of caffeine are also responsible for increasing your measurement of heart rate at rest.

Do inform your coach or physician about the variation in order to control the influence.

Why should you measure Resting Heart Rate?

•    When you work out the efficiency of the heart to pump blood is enhanced and thus exercise can help in lowering the resting heart rate. Hence you can see the influence of exercise in lowering your heart’s efficiency by measuring the heart beat.  However, even people who are very lethargic tend to have low resting heart rate. Thus simply a lower Resting Heart Rate does not indicate that you are exceptionally fit or otherwise.

•    Apart from this, if you are a heart patient advised to stay away from strenuous work outs, then you should monitor the resting heart rate before and after the exercise. This would help you to avoid posing danger to your heart.

•    It is also essential to find if you are over-trained or exhausted. When your body reaches extortion, heart and metabolism would work hard to bring back the homeosatsis leading to higher heart rate while relaxing. Thus it can indicate the over loading of your body mechanisms leading to corrective actions.

Final Word

Regularly exercising for at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes can go a long way in keeping your heart healthy. When there are no underlying medical conditions, low resting heart rate can be a good sign of your fitness. However consult and take expert advice from cardiologist to assess your heart conditions.