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What your Resting Heart Rate Says About You

What your Resting Heart Rate Says About You
July 07
19:02 2016

Your heart rate, the number of heart beats per minute, can tell you a lot about your general health. Your resting heart rate (RHR) and how your heart rate increases and decreases during a work-out both reflect how healthy you are.

You can either calculate this on your own by counting the number of pulses on your wrist with your index and middle finger for thirty seconds then double that number to get your beats per minute. Make sure you repeat this a few times to make sure you get the most accurate number.

If you are a FitBit or AppleWatch user, these devices measure your heart beat per minute for you. A RHR between 60 and 100 is normal for adults.

But what do these numbers mean?


“In certain cases, a lower RHR can mean a higher degree of physical fitness, which is associated with reduced rates of cardiac events like heart attacks,” said Dr. Jason Wasfy, director of quality and analytics at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center to Harvard’s Men’s Health Watch.

But a low RHR doesn’t necessarily mean you are in perfect health, especially if you are prone to dizziness and fatigue.

“This may be the result of the electrical nodes of the heart aging, or not transmitting electrical signals correctly,” said Wasfy. “You should report these symptoms to your health care provider.”

High RHR

“However, a high RHR could be a sign of an increased risk of cardiac risk in some situations, as the more beats your heart has to take eventually takes a toll on its overall function,” said Wasfy.

According to research, having a RHR at the higher range of the 60-100, means you are more at risk for cardiovascular disease. In a 2013 study by the Journal Heart, 3,000 men were studied for 16 years. The subjects with high RHR had higher blood pressure and body weight. These individuals also had less physical fitness activity. The participants with RHRs between 81 and 90 had double the chance of death and above 90 had triple.

So how can you stabilize your RHR, especially if it is high? Even small amounts of exercise can make a change,” said Wasfy. But keep in mind, that high-intensity aerobic training is more effective in doing so than low-intensity.

And for those who have an on-going fitness routine, keeping track of your heart rate during a work-out is an excellent way to measure your progress. The best way to determine how fit you are, is by seeing how fast your heart rate decreases following a high-intensity exercise. A basic way to calculate your maximum heart rate is by subtracting your age from 220.


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