Resting heart rate : (RHR) — the number of heartbeats per minute while you’re at rest — indicates how your heart muscle is functioning – in real-time.
It is easy to measure.
- Place your index and middle finger on your wrist just below the thumb, or along either side of your neck, so you can feel your pulse.
- Use a watch to count the number of beats for 30 seconds and double it to get your beats per minute.
- Repeat a few times to ensure an accurate reading.
The numbers reveal your heart health.
While a heart rate is considered normal if the rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, most healthy relaxed adults have a resting heart rate below 90 beats per minute. For children ages 6 to 15, the normal resting heart rate is between 70 and 100 bpm.
Athletes, fit and active people often have lower heart rates. They can have a resting heart rate of 40 bpm. A resting heart rate lower than 60 could also be the result of taking certain medications.
However, a high resting heart rate could be a sign of an increased risk of cardiac risk in some situations. The more beats your heart has to take eventually takes a toll on its overall function.
Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or if you’re not a trained athlete and your resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.
Ways to lower heart rate and keep it within its proper range.
- Keep your cholesterol levels in check.
- High levels restrict blood flow through the arteries and damage blood vessels, which can make your heart beat faster than normal to move blood through the body.
- Even small amounts of exercise can make a change. However, the intensity of the exercise is key. One study that involved 55-year-old adults found that just one hour per week of high-intensity aerobic training (about 66% of maximum effort) lowered RHR more efficiently than a low-intensity attempt (33% of max effort).
Tips for measuring your resting heart rate
- Check your resting heart rate early and often
- Checking your resting heart rate a few times per week and at different times of the day. Keep in mind that the number can be influenced by many factors, including stress and anxiety, circulating hormones, and medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure drugs.
- Do not take your RHR within one to two hours after exercise or a stressful event.
- Wait at least an hour after consuming caffeine
- Checking your resting heart rate first thing in the morning (but before you get out of bed).
Keep in mind that many factors can influence heart rate, including:
- Fitness and activity levels
- Being a smoker
- Having cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or diabetes
- Air temperature
- Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
- Body size
Talk with your doctor if your resting heart rate is regularly on the high end.
- Harvard Health
- Mayo Clinic
- American Heart Association
- K J Somaiya Hospital Super Speciality Centre.
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