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Understanding Resting Heart Rate

Be smart, understand your heart

With the massive rise in popularity of wearable fitness trackers in recent years, step counts and resting heart rates have become things to brag about.

Achieving 10,000 steps a day and a resting heart rate of less than 60bpm is like the holy grail for Fitbit and Garmin disciples.

Resting heart rate (RHR) is the number of times your heart beats per minute while at rest (technically you should be lying down).

An ‘average’ resting heart rate for a healthy adult will be anything between 50 – 90bpm.

Trained athletes/very fit people have heart rates below 50bpm, but if you have a RHR of less than 50bpm and you’re not exercising you may want to get yourself checked out.

healthy-heart-1Not to toot my own horn or anything….but…when I was in hospital last year with a torn bicep I had my resting heart rate checked and it was 42bpm.  The nurse actually thought the machine was broken and had her colleagues double check manually (it was correct).

A lower RHR tends to mean a better functioning heart.  The more trained your heart is, the more efficiently it will pump blood around your body and therefore perform less pumps per minute.  Lower RHR tends to be a good predictor of longer life.

RHR can also be a good indicator of stress (physical or mental).  Track your RHR when you first wake up in the morning, if it increases by a few BPM for more than a day or two then you could be working too hard in the gym or in the office.

To improve your RHR you need to make it stronger.  How do you do that?!  You guessed it…more exercise.  Aim to get your heart rate above 120bpm for at least 20 minutes 5 – 7 times per week.