Your resting heart rate [RHR] refers to the number of times your heart beats per minute. A typical healthy range for a resting heart rate is 60 to 80 beats per minute, but the number tends to be lower for athletes [between 40 + 60 beats per minute]. Cardio-based workouts — running, cycling, jump roping, rowing — will increase your heart rate during the exercise, but it shouldn’t be confused with your resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the heart rate you have when you’re in deep sleep + when you first wake up.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO MEASURE
It may seem silly keeping track of the number next to the little heart icon on your FitBit, but your RHR is actually a great indicator for how healthy you are! A lower RHR means you have a healthier heart — think, the lower your RHR, the less your heart has to work. A higher RHR is usually associated with excess stress, lack of sleep, ++ poor diet.
A high RHR can also be associated with lack of physical activity. However, if you workout regularly, but wake up in the morning + find you have an RHR that’s higher than usual, it’s important to listen to your body + either go lighter on your workout that day or take a rest day. An abnormally high RHR [for you!] means your body is under a lot of stress + it’s important to give it rest when it needs instead of putting more strain on it.
HOW TO MEASURE IT
Your true resting heart rate is the heart rate you have when you first wake up in the morning [before the stress of school // work comes your way!], so if you want to measure it, do so the second you wake up before getting out of bed. Certain fitness watches can measure your heart rate for you. If you don’t have one, simply take your index + middle fingers to find your pulse, either on the inside of your wrist or on your neck. Hold your fingers on your pulse for 15 seconds + count the number of beats you feel. Multiply that number by four, + that’s your resting heart rate!
Exercising regularly [especially regular cardio] can help lower your RHR over time, because it strengthens your heart // lungs ++ improves how your body takes in + uses oxygen. Not a fan of cardio workouts like running + biking? There are plenty of non-traditional ways to get in a cardio sesh. It’s all about finding what’s fun for you! You can also improve your RHR by eating healthy, getting plenty of quality sleep, staying hydrated, ++ maintaining stress levels. If you find yourself frequently stressed, try meditating or doing yoga to relax yourself. Your resting heart rate is an important measure of your overall health, so make sure to monitor it over time + listen to your body. : )
++Ashleigh Monaco [ashvm_inchaarg] // University of Iowa