Resting Heart Rate

Definition of resting heart rate

Resting heart rate is the number of pulse beats for one minute at the state of complete rest. The resting heart rate shows the levels of heart health and fitness. Healthy heart needs less effort for pumping blood.

Interpretation of resting heart rate

Heart rateThe number of pulse beats per minute at rest points to the power and efficacy of the cardiovascular system. The strong heart pumps more blood with low resting heart rate. Low resting heart rate correlates with an advanced fitness level. Resting heart rate correlates with age as well.

Detailed interpretation of resting heart rate

The normal resting heart rate is 60-90 beats per minute (bpm). Resting heart rate below 60 bpm is called bradycardia. The rates above 100 bpm at rest are called tachycardia. Resting heart rate of 60 bpm or less is a good index. From 61 bpm to 80 bpm is an average index. From 81 bpm to 100 bpm is high, but tolerable index. The index of 101 bpm or more is aberrantly high and not very good. Although the range of normal resting heart rate is broad, an abnormally high or low heart rate may point to a hidden problem. It is good to consult with the doctor if the resting heart rate is above 100 bpm or below 60 bpm.

In trained athletes, the normal resting heart rate may approach to 40 bpm. Training results in positive cardiovascular changes of heart muscle. This leads to a state known as Athlete's heart. Therefore, normal resting heart rate for athletes may be below 60 bpm, and even below 40 bpm.

Measurement of resting heart rate

To measure the resting heart rate, take your pulse for 1 minute at rest in the morning counting each pulse beat to determine your beats per minute.

It is recommended to use one of the following approaches:

  • Place the index and middle fingers over the outside of the opposite wrist below the thumb base.
  • Place the index and middle fingers under the ear and slide the fingers down under the jawbone.
  • To make the measurement more precise, take the pulse for three mornings and then average the results.

It is also possible to take the pulse after resting for 20-30 minutes if you cannot do it in the morning.

What influences on resting heart rate?

Numerous factors can influence upon the heart rate. Among them are activity and fitness levels, surrounding temperature, standing or lying body position, emotions and feelings, body mass, and medications.

Why must I know resting heart rate?

One the ways to test the efficacy of training is the calculation of the target heart rate. The target heart rate helps determine how to burn calories efficiently. To find out the heart rate to burn calories, it is good to recur to the Karvonen Formula. To calculate the target heart rate, it is necessary to determine the resting heart rate which reflects the basic fitness level. Don't forget to consult with your doctor to monitor the exercise intensity.