Resting heart rate (RHR) can be a robust measure for fitness and general health. Here's why you measure it and how you can decrease it.
Athletes and trainers have been monitoring RHR as an athletic performance indicator for decades, but a low RHR is also a significant general vital sign that shows excellent general health.
Resting heart rate is a measure of how quickly the heartbeats per minute (bpm) while at rest and is best measured in the morning.
The average adult will have an RHR between 60-100 beats per minute, while athletes will probably rest between 40-60 bpm and sometimes even lower.
And the lower, the better, as a low RHR correlates to a reduced risk for heart attack, greater energy levels, more metabolic effectiveness, and athletic stamina.
What Affects the Resting Heart Rate?
- Regular exercise. At least 1 hour of continuous aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking, cycling, or jogging) three times a week will help keep a reduced RHR. It is important that, whatever the exercise, the heart rate increases for an extended period of time.
- Hydration. Staying hydrated helps with blood viscosity and makes it easier for the blood to flow through the body, exerting less stress on the heart.
- Sleep. During continuous, uninterrupted sleep, the body rests, repairs, and recovers. Poor or inconsistent sleep can be a major contributor to high RHR, placing stress on the core.
- Diet. A balanced diet full of healthy fats and low sodium keeps the arteries clear, resulting in lower RHR and less work for the heart.
- Stress. Over the short and long term, stress can lead to additional work for the heart, rising RHR. It is essential to keep stress and anxiety low to maintain a formidable RHR.
Why Measure RHR?
As with most biometrics, Resting Heart Rate provides insights into your overall health, suggesting general well-being and potential health hazards that can inform your daily lifestyle decisions.
Knowing their RHR and your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) can help athletes determine heart rate-based training areas. Spikes in RHR may show with overtraining where an athlete is bound to take a rest day, something else in a training regiment is amiss, or may even imply an oncoming cold or disease.
How to Lower RHR
It is important to maintain an active lifestyle with regular aerobic exercise, a balanced diet, regular sleep, and hydration. If RHR is high, these are the first factors to be assessed. Beyond the fundamental lifestyle variables, a few more measures can be taken to reduce RHR considerably:
- Alcohol and smoking. Regular drinking and smoking increase stress on the heart and cardiovascular systems. Cutting or eliminating these practices reduces RHR dramatically.
- Manage Weight. Maintaining good weight produces enhanced metabolic and energy efficiency within the body, reducing the heart's stress and reducing the RHR.
- Meditation. Long, slow breathing can help control the heart rate and, over time, it can also help reduce RHR.
Resting Heart Rate is a significant indicator of general wellness for athletes and anyone who focuses on a healthy lifestyle. At Biostrap, we are committed to placing you in control of your health by providing precise metrics so that you can monitor and enhance efficiency and well-being. Many happy customers agree Biostrap offers the best resting heart rate tracking apps & products.