Why Does Resting Heart Rate Matter
Resting heart rate is an indicator of overall health. Changes in resting heart rate can be among the first signs of an underlying issue. Having a lower resting heart rate doesnt necessarily indicate a cause for concern. Elite athletes and people who have a high fitness level tend to have lower resting heart rates. Medications and sleeping patterns;can also lead to lower resting heart rates.
In some cases, low heart rates or significant decreases from your normal baseline can be a sign of an underlying problem such as heart disease. Additionally, heart attack, underactive thyroid, and some infections can also cause low resting heart rate.
Your heart rate;varies;when youre under stress during strenuous exercise and when youre just lounging.;Its normal for your heart rate to be higher when you exercise because your heart has to pump oxygenated blood to your organs faster when youre exerting a lot of energy. Exercise and mood changes can cause an increase in resting heart rate. Think about the last time you were really excited or nervous. The feeling of your heart pounding in your chest is a reflection of an increased heart rate.
When your heart rate is consistently too high, you may have a health problem. Asthma and other breathing conditions;can cause an increased resting heart rate. Anemia, heart problems, and medications can also raise heart rate numbers.
How Can You Use Your Target Heart Rate
You can use your target heart rate to know how hard to exercise to gain the most aerobic benefit from your workout. You can exercise within your target heart rate to either maintain or raise your aerobic fitness level. To raise your fitness level, you can work harder while exercising to raise your heart rate toward the upper end of your target heart rate range. If you have not been exercising regularly, you may want to start at the low end of your target heart rate range and gradually exercise harder.
To take your heart rate during exercise, you can count the beats in a set period of time and then multiply by a number to get the number of beats per minute. For example, if you count your heartbeat for 30 seconds, double that number to get the number of beats per minute. You can also wear a heart rate monitor during exercise so you do not have to take your pulse. A heart rate monitor shows your pulse rate continuously, so you see how exercise changes your heart rate. Then you can work harder or easier to keep your heart working in your target heart rate range.
Target heart rate is only a guide. Each individual is different, so pay attention to how you feel, how hard you are breathing, how fast your heart is beating, and how much you feel the exertion in your muscles.
Analyzing Your Resting Heart Rate
The point of measuring your resting heart rate is to evaluate your recovery status and the development of your aerobic fitness. When you do the test under the same or very similar circumstances, it will help you monitor your current recovery status, possible overload state and whether your fitness has improved.
As your level of fitness improves, your resting heart rate typically goes down about 12 beats for every 2 months.
It is not uncommon that your resting heart rate is up by 25, sometimes even 57, beats per minute during hard training periods compared to a well-recovered state.
During a less intensive week, the resting heart rate should fall back to where it was during the previous less intensive week, or hopefully even slightly below that. As your level of fitness improves, your resting heart rate typically goes down about 12 beats for every 2 months.
For beginners, it might be even more if they simultaneously lose weight and improve their nutrition.
If you want an easy way to gauge your current;fitness level, consider taking the Polar Fitness Test regularly.
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Find Your Target Heart Rate
Monitoring your heart rate is a useful tool you can learn to use to guide your training and make sure youre getting the most out of your workouts. It can help make sure youre pushing hard on interval days and taking it easy on recovery days . But what do words such as light, moderate, and vigorous mean when it comes to exercise?
You can determine your exercise intensity using your maximum and resting heart rates. Then you can use the Heart Rate Reserve method to calculate your Target Heart Rate to determine what range your heart rate should be in for your desired exercise intensity. We provide a step-by-step process you can follow.
What Is Your Heart Rate
Knowing how to find your pulse can help you figure out your best exercise program. If youâre taking heart medications, recording your pulse daily and reporting the results to your doctor can help them learn whether your treatment is working.
Blood pressure vs. heart rate
Your heart rate is separate from your blood pressure. Thatâs the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels.
A faster pulse doesnât necessarily mean higher blood pressure. When your heart speeds up, like when you exercise, your blood vessels should expand to let more blood pass through.
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Know Your Numbers: Maximum And Target Heart Rate By Age
This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3
In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity its about 70-85% of maximum.
The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.
Can Resting Heart Rate Be Too Low
While less common, some people may have a resting heart rate that falls lower than 60 beats per minute.
“When a person’s heart muscle is in excellent condition, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep a steady beat. Therefore, people who exercise frequently and are very physically fit can have a resting heart rate that falls below 60 beats per minute. In fact, a trained athlete’s resting heart rate can be as low as 40 beats per minute,” explains Dr. Chebrolu.
Additionally, medications, specifically beta blockers, can also slow your heart rate.
“The time to worry about a low heart rate is if you’re not very active and you’re not taking medications but your resting heart rate frequently falls below 60 beats per minute, especially if you’re also experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath or fainting,” warns Dr. Chebrolu. “This can be a sign of bradycardia a slower than normal heart rate that can lead to poor oxygen flow to your vital organs.”
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Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
- First sit quietly for 5 minutes or do this before you get out of bed in the morning. Place two fingers gently on either your carotid artery or on your radial pulse . Count how many pulses you feel for 15 seconds, and then multiply that number by 4.
- For example, if you count 15 pulses, thats a RHR of 60 beats per minute .
What Is Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate is a range of numbers that reflect how fast your heart should be beating when you exercise. A higher heart rate is a good thing that leads to greater fitness, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist;Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H.;During exercise, you can monitor heart rate and try to reach this target zone. Doctors also use target heart rate to interpret the results of a cardiac stress test.
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Target Heart Rate For Exercise
Your target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. It is the level at which your heart is beating with moderate to high intensity. To determine your maximum heart rate, take 220 and subtract your age.
Sustaining a workout at this pace improves cardiorespiratory endurance. So knowing your target heart rate helps you pace your workouts. Exercising at the right level of intensity will help you avoid burning out or wasting time with a workout thats not vigorous enough to help you meet your goals.
What Does This Tool Help You Learn
This tool will help you find your target heart rate based on your age, resting heart rate, and activity level. Your target heart rate can guide you to how hard you should exercise so you can get the most aerobic benefit from your workout.
Do not use this target heart rate measurement if you are taking medicine that affects your heart rate, such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or digoxin. Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program.
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How Do I See Resting Heart Rate Data
To see your current resting heart rate, swipe up from the clock face on your device. To see resting heart rate data for the past 30 days, tap the Heart Rate tile in the Fitbit app.
This data is also available in the Health Metrics tile:
For more information, see What should I;know about health metrics in the Fitbit app?
Track Your Heart Rate
Keeping track of your heart rate can give you insight into your fitness level, heart health and emotional health, Dr. Sinha says. Many people are walking around with a resting heart rate that is too high, due to factors such as too much caffeine, dehydration, inactivity and persistent stress. Those extra heart beats over time can be taking years off your life.
Dr. Sinha recommends tracking your heart rate as well as keeping a journal of which activities are causing higher heart rates. Then use that information to make changes, set priorities and move toward a healthier life. If daily stress is raising your resting heart rate, for example, think twice about taking on that extra project at work or school. Consider adding a morning walk or a 10-minute breathing session at lunch.
A final reminder from Dr. Sinha: Get your doctors OK before exercising hard if you have a heart condition or other disorder where exercising may be unsafe. Also keep in mind that certain medications can affect your heart rate, making it a less reliable measurement.
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How Will You Spend Your Heartbeats
- Your resting heart rate appears to determine how long you live. And the things you do to lower your resting heart rate are good for your overall health.
- Theres at least one risk factor of having a very low RHR, but there seems to be a higher risk of overall disease at higher heart rates.
- Stress, physical or emotional, seems to be the most important factor in determining your heart rate.
- Exercise allows your body to adapt to stressful situations better. Additionally, it will enable your body to reach a deeper relaxed state as your heart muscle becomes stronger and your circulation becomes more efficient.
- How do you compare with your age group? I am in the athlete range, but I exercise regularly.
- If youre going to exercise, build up slowly so your body can adapt.
- I find the simplest exercises are the most effective. Theyre the ones you can do at home every day without going to the gym.
- High-intensity interval training is one of the quickest and most effective workouts for resting heart rate, HRV, muscle building, and weight loss. Why not give it a try?
- You have a maximum number of lifetime heartbeats, use them well.
What Things Affect Heart Rate
Other than exercise, things that can affect your heart rate include:
- Weather. Your pulse may go up a bit in higher temperatures and humidity levels.
- Standing up. It might spike for about 20 seconds after you first stand up from sitting.
- Emotions. Stress and anxiety can raise your heart rate. It may also go up when youâre very happy or sad.
- Body size. People who have severe obesity can have a slightly faster pulse.
- Medications. Beta-blockers slow your heart rate. Too much thyroid medicine can speed it up.
- Caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, tea, and soda raise your heart rate. So does tobacco.
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Can Resting Heart Rate Be Too High
Can resting heart rate be too high?
As mentioned, normal heart rate can range between 60 to 100 beats per minute. So, if your resting heart rate is consistently higher than 100, do you need to be worried?
“The more beats your heart has to take on a regular basis, the more strain it places on your heart over time. A resting heart rate regularly above 100 beats per minute is called tachycardia, which can place you at an increased risk of heart disease, and even death if your heart rate climbs high enough,” warns Dr. Chebrolu.
This means that it’s incredibly important to talk to your doctor if you’re resting heart rate is consistently high. He or she can run the tests and bloodwork needed to assess your overall heart health.
Your doctor can also recommend lifestyle changes that may help lower your resting heart rate, including:
- Getting regular exercise
- Regularly practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation
- Losing excess weight
- Maintaining healthy choices and modifying your cardiovascular risk factors
- Avoiding certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that can affect your heart rate
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use
“In particular, starting an exercise program can help you decrease your resting heart rate up to one beat per minute for every week or so that you train with reductions in resting heart rate, over time, ranging from 10 to 12 beats per minute,” adds Dr. Chebrolu.
Karvonen Formula For Estimating Hr Zones
There are five heart rate training zones. They are based on the intensity of training with regard to your maximum heart rate. The Karvonen formula is a mathematical equation that helps to determine heart rate ranges for different training zones.
It uses three different variables and looks as follows:
target HR = + resting HR
target HR – heart rate you need to achieve to be in the heart rate training zone;
max HR – maximum heart rate. It’s expressed in beats per minute , and it’s the highest heart rate a person can achieve without experiencing severe problems;
resting HR – resting heart rate. The number of times that your heart beats per minute when you are at rest; and
%intensity – the intensity of the training expressed as a percentage. This value is different for each of HR zones.
The table below presents %intensities for all five of the heart rate training zones:
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How Do I Get My Heart Rate In The Target Zone
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? Theres a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bullseye so you can get max benefit from every step, swing and squat. Even if youre not a gym rat or elite athlete, knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness level.
What’s A Normal Heart Rate
Most adults have a resting heart rate;between 60;and 100bpm.
The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be. For example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60bpm, or lower.
See a GP to get checked if you think your heart rate is continuously above 120bpm or below 40bpm, although it;may simply be that this is normal for you.
Visit the British Heart Foundation for more information on checking your pulse.
What Is Your Activity Level
Your target heart rate depends on how physically fit you are. For example, if you are not active and not physically fit, your target heart rate is a little lower than the target heart rate of someone who exercises every day. This tool gives you a range of what your target heart rate is, based on how much you usually exercise.
To find your target heart rate range, you will choose the category that best matches your level of physical activity. The categories are:
- Not active. You do less than 30 minutes of light activity no more than 2 times a week. Cleaning house, slow walking, and playing golf are examples of light activity.
- Moderately active. You do up to 30 minutes of light to moderate activity 3 to 5 times a week. Brisk walking, jogging, riding a bike, swimming, and playing tennis are examples of moderate activity.
- Very active. You do more than 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 times a week.
Exercise And Your Pulse
If you check your pulse;during or immediately after exercise, it may give an indication of your fitness level. A heart rate monitor is also useful for recording your heart rate when resting and during exercise.
Aerobic activities such as walking, running and swimming are good types of exercise because they increase your heart and breathing rates.
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