Your resting heart rate Your health!
In today’s technologically advanced world, and with the advent of wearable smart watches, it’s easier than ever to see your resting heart rate (RHR). But why is this number so important?
Your resting heart rate is one indicator that can assist in formulating a complete picture of your health. Your RHR is measured when you're not exercising or moving and are stationary and relaxed— this is when your heart is pumping the lowest amount of blood.
What's a normal resting heart rate?
For adults, average resting heart rate should range between: 60 and 100 bpm, anything over 90 bpm is considered high. Generally speaking, lower heart rates are better as it means that the heart muscle doesn't have to work as hard to keep a strong, steady rhythm.
A higher RHR is something to watch out for as research has shown that it is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. We also know that the more you exercise, the lower your resting heart rate tends to be.
How do you track your resting heart rate?
The best time to test your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning, before you've gotten out of bed — ideally after a good night's sleep. Find your pulse by placing a finger on your wrist, or on the side of your neck, and count the number of beats in 60 seconds. Of course, thanks to technology, many smartwatches can track your heart rate for you.
How can you lower your resting heart rate?
Here are five things you can do to start to lower your RHR and also help maintain a healthy heart:
1. Exercise more. When you take a brisk walk, swim, or cycle, your heart beats faster during the activity and for a short time afterward. But exercising every day, you will gradually slow your RHR.
2. Reduce stress. Relaxation exercises such as meditation, tai chi or other stress-busting techniques can lower your RHR over time.
3. Avoid tobacco products. Smokers have higher resting heart rates. Quitting brings it back down and proves hugely beneficial to overall health.
4. Maintain a healthy weight. The greater your body mass, the more the heart must work to supply it with blood. Losing weight can help slow an elevated RHR.
5. Stay hydrated. The amount of blood circulating through your body, or blood volume, decreases when you are dehydrated.
This article is for informational purposes only; if you're worried about resting heart rate being consistently too high or too low, and you're not sure why, do consult your doctor about what may be causing it.