How To Find Your Target Heart Rate
First, it helps to know your resting heart rate, Martin says. Find your pulse . Then count the number of beats in a minutethats your resting heart rate. The average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100, he says. The more fit you are, the lower your resting heart rate for very fit people, its in the range of 40 to 50 beats per minute.
Target heart rate is generally expressed as a percentage of your maximum safe heart rate. The maximum rate is based on your age, as subtracted from 220. So for a 50-year-old, maximum heart rate is 220 minus 50, or 170 beats per minute. At a 50 percent exertion level, your target would be 50 percent of that maximum, or 85 beats per minute. At an 85 percent level of exertion, your target would be 145 beats per minute. Therefore, the target heart rate that a 50-year-old would want to aim for during exercise is 85 to 145 beats per minute.
But theres an easier way to figure it out if you want to skip the math: Wear a fitness tracking device, or exercise on a treadmill or other machine that calculates target heart rate for you, Blaha suggests.
Genetic And Genomic Modifiers Of Heart Rate
Resting heart rate is heritable, and a number of SNPs associated with heart rate have been identified by GWAS . These include polymorphisms at 6q22 near GJA1 , 14q12 near MYH6 , 14q12 near MYH7 , 6q22 near PLN , 1q32, 7q22, 11q12, and 12p12. The mechanism by which these variants alter heart rate remains unknown, and together they explain less than 2% of the heritable component of heart rate.
Benjamin R. Nordstrom, … Adrian Raine, in, 2011
How Is Resting Heart Rate Calculated
Measuring your resting heart rate is as easy as checking your pulse, which can be felt on the side of your neck or the underside of your wrist .
While sitting down and once you feel your pulse count the number of beats you feel over the span of 30 seconds . Multiply this number by two to calculate your heart beats per minute.
“To get an accurate representation of your resting heart rate, repeat this process a few times and over the course of a few days,” adds Dr. Chebrolu.
She also advises against checking your heart rate immediately after a stressful event, strenuous activity or consuming caffeine, which can lead to temporary elevation in your heart rate.
Additionally, most wearable fitness trackers and smart watches provide insights into your heart rate. And since these devices collect measurements throughout the day, they’re a simple way to effortlessly monitor your average resting heart rate.
“The heart rate measurements taken by wearable devices may not be as reliable as checking your pulse by hand, but they can help you track general trends and spot changes in your resting heart rate,” says Dr. Chebrolu.
And while some smartwatches now come with an ECG feature that can help monitor for heart rhythm issues, these devices alone cannot detect a life-threatening arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation .
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Things Your Resting Heart Rate Can Tell You
Youre Not Active EnoughA normal resting heart rate for the average adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute or 40 to 60 bpm for highly conditioned athletes.If youre sedentary most of the day, your RHR likely approaches or exceeds the top end of this range. This may be because your heart is less efficient. The good news? By regularly engaging in moderate to vigorous aerobic activities , you will help your heart become more efficient at pumping blood, plus you might shed a few pounds, all of which will lower your resting heart rate over time. Even modest reductions in resting heart rate can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and add years to your life!
Youre OvertrainingWhile pushing your body can lead to great gains, it can also be detrimental. If you notice an increase in your resting heart rate when youre going heavy on the training and light on the rest, your body may be telling you that you need to scale back. By giving it the proper rest it needs, your body can repair and adapt and you may bounce back stronger than ever.
Youre Sleep DeprivedAlways exhausted? Chronic sleep deprivationwhich can lead to fatigue, a lower metabolism, and extra snackingcan also raise your resting heart rate. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
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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Low Resting Heart Rate
Low resting heart rate is the best-replicated biological correlate of antisocial behavior in juvenile samples . In a meta-analytic review of 29 samples, the average effect size was 0.56. This effect was demonstrated in both genders and irrespective of measurement technique . This relationship is not artifactual, as confounding variables such as height, weight, body composition, muscle tone, poor school performance, low IQ, hyperactivity, low attention, drug and alcohol use, participation in sports and exercise, social class, and family size and composition have all been ruled out .
The finding that low resting heart rate predicts later crime has been replicated in the United States, Germany, England, Canada, Mauritius, and New Zealand . In longitudinal studies, low resting heart rate has been shown to accurately identify individuals who are at risk for later developing antisocial behavior. This finding is specific for antisocial behavior and has not been shown in other psychiatric syndromes.
R.P. Najjar, J.M. Zeitzer, in, 2017
Normal Resting Heart Rate
The heart rate measures how many times the heart beats in 60 seconds.
It is important to identify whether your heart rate sits within the normal range. If disease or injury weakens the heart, the organs will not receive enough blood to function normally.
The United States National Institutes of Health have published a list of normal resting heart rates.
The heart rate gets progressively slower as a person moves through childhood toward adolescence.
The normal resting heart rate for adults over the age of 10 years, including older adults, is .
Highly trained athletes may have a resting heart rate below 60 bpm, sometimes reaching 40 bpm.
The following is a table of normal resting heart rates at different ages according to the NIH:
|Over 10 years
|60 to 100
The resting heart rate can vary within this normal range. It will increase in response to a variety of changes, including exercise, body temperature, emotional triggers, and body position, such as for a short while after standing up quickly.
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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.
Exercise And Resting Heart Rate
One study put participants through a 12-week aerobic conditioning program of cycling, Stairmaster, and running on a treadmill. Participants dropped their resting heart rate down from an average of 69 to 66, a 3 point drop. But when they stopped the aerobic program, their resting heart rate went back to around 69 again.
It appears that you must exercise consistently to keep your resting heart rate lower. What else can you do?
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Why Your Heart Rate Goes Up When Youre Sick
When you get sick a run-of-the-mill illness, like a cold or the flu you may have noticed your heart beats a little faster than normal. In that moment, perhaps you even got a bit nervous. You may have asked yourself, why is my heart beating so fast? or should I call a doctor about it?
Its totally normal to have an increased heart rate when youre sick. Most of the time, its not a cause for concern. When you get sick, your body temperature usually rises, and that makes your heart beat faster. However, to better understand exactly whats going on, we spoke with Jason Hatch, MD, a cardiologist at Banner Health, to discuss the connection between sickness and your heart rate. Heres what you should know.
What Is Your Pulse
When your heart beats it pushes blood around your body. This heart beat can be felt as your ‘pulse’ on your wrist or neck.
Your pulse is measured by counting the number of times your heart beats in one minute. For example, if your heart contracts 72 times in one minute, your pulse would be 72 beats per minute . This is also called your heart rate.
A normal pulse beats in a steady, regular rhythm. However, in some people this rhythm is uneven, or ‘jumps about’. This is known as an irregular pulse.
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Where Is It And What Is A Normal Heart Rate
The best places to find your pulse are the:
- side of your neck
- top of the foot
To get the most accurate reading, put your finger over your pulse and count the number of beats in 60 seconds.
Your resting heart rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood you need because youre not exercising. If youre sitting or lying and youre calm, relaxed and arent ill, your heart rate is normally between 60 and 100 .
But a heart rate lower than 60 doesnt necessarily signal a medical problem. It could be the result of taking a drug such as a beta blocker. A lower heart rate is also common for people who get a lot of physical activity or are very athletic. Active people often have a lower resting heart rate because their heart muscle is in better condition and doesnt need to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. A low or moderate amount of physical activity doesnt usually change the resting pulse much.
People Are Simply Different
Sleep duration, BMI, sex, and age all influenced RHR, overall, the researchers showed that these differences were only minimally associated with individual characteristics.
Although a persons RHR changed with the seasons and for short periods, these fluctuations were an order of magnitude narrower than the differences between different peoples RHRs. The study authors write:
Individuals have a daily RHR that is normal for them but can differ from another individuals normal by as much as 70 bpm.
According to the authors, an estimated 20% of consumers in the now possess a smartwatch or fitness band capable of passively and unobtrusively measuring continuous over long periods.
Because access to information about RHR is now so widespread, it makes sense to use it to its fullest potential. The researchers hope that, in the future, health professionals might use RHR data to help diagnose conditions such as cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and even provide insight into reproductive health.
The authors conclude, The ability to detect early acute illnesses, such as infections, and early exacerbations of chronic diseases remains a promising avenue to explore.
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What Is A Normal Heart Rate
Heart rates generally fall within a “normal” range, but vary person to person.
The resting heart rate of an individual will vary depending on their age, body size, heart conditions and medication use, as well as the temperature of the air around them. Emotions can also affect one’s heart rate for example, getting excited or scared can increase the heart rate.
Getting fitter can lower one’s heart rate, by making the heart muscles work more efficiently. A well-trained athlete may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60 bpm, according to the American Heart Association . At the height of his career, cyclist Miguel Indurain reportedly had a resting heart rate of 28 bpm, according to Harvard Health.
“Your heart is a muscle and just like strengthening other muscles by doing activities, you can do the same thing with your heart,” said Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, an internist at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Tracking your heart rate can help you monitor your fitness level, and it may help you spot developing health problems if you are experiencing an unusually fast, slow or irregular heart beat.
So Your Resting Heart Rate Is Normal
Congrats! A normal RHR reading is definitely a good thing, but if you’re monitoring it for fitness or wellness-related reasons, it’s not the only thing to pay attention to. That’s because “normal” doesn’t necessarily equal “healthy.”
In fact, in a recent study, middle-aged men who had a RHR of 75 bpm or higher at the start of the study were twice as likely to die over the next 11 years, compared to men with a RHR of 55 or below.
“Ideally, you want your resting heart rate to be somewhere between 50 and 70 bpm,” says Haythe. “But I don’t think that people need to be obsessively checking.” Once a month is totally fine.
“Something also very important is how quickly your heart rate comes down after you exercise,” Haythe said. “We want to see that your heart rate is slow at rest, that it increases appropriately with exercise, and that it comes down quickly after aerobic activity — within a few minutes.”
Regardless of which method you use, when trying to gauge how healthy you are, one thing is certain: Any results should be considered alongside other metrics, like blood pressure and cholesterol, in consultation with your doctor, especially if you notice changes over time.
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Why Does My Resting Heart Rate Fluctuate
You now know that there are many factors that can cause resting heart rate fluctuations. Its important to think about all of these if you observe any resting heart rate changes, as its likely to be a short term change. Its relatively normal if your RHR fluctuates a lot and, for example, you are having a varied sleep pattern, experiencing stress, taking medication, changing your training schedule, or are affected by hot weather.
There is a wide range of normal when it comes to your RHR so yours fluctuate, it wont often be cause for concern. However, if your RHR is consistently over 100 beats per minute, then you could have tachycardia, which could be caused by a heart rhythm disorder. Alternatively, if youre not a trained athlete and your RHR is below 60 beats per minute and you are dizzy or short of breath, you could have bradycardia. In either of these cases, its important to speak to a doctor so they can look at why your RHR fluctuates.
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How Can You Find Out Your Resting Heart Rate
Fitness trackers with heart rate monitors can be surprising accurate. A 2017 Stanford study found that six out of seven fitness trackers they tested were 95 percent accurate in measuring heart rate.
However, you shouldn’t always rely on technology to give you measurements.
“The best way to determine your resting heart rate is to learn to take your pulse, says Dr. Mittal. This can be taken by palpating the pulse at your wrist or neck.
Here’s how to do it: Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. If you want to check it at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon, looking for your radial arterywhich is located on the thumb side of your wrist.
Once you find your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds, then multiply that number by 4 to calculate your beats a minute, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While your heart rate may vary, it’s important to keep a healthy base rate. Once you know what that is for your body, keep tabs. If you start to notice changes with your heart rate, you should check in with you primary care doctor, especially if you notice it consistently dipping way below your normal resting heart rate, or frequent episodes of unexplained fast beating.
“If you’re a regular exerciser, but start to notice your routine takes more effort, or if you’re breathless or more tired than normal during your workout, it’s time to see a doctor,” says Traynor.
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What Your Resting Heart Rate Says About You
If you want to know more about your cardiovascular health, weve got one big question for you: Do you know what your resting heart rate is?
Your resting heart rate can tell you a lot about your cardiovascular health and while some of what it says may seem scary at first, dont worry! There are ways to improve your cardiovascular health. At Tri-City Medical Center, we see patients with high resting heart rates lower theirs to healthier levels all the time.
Heres a little background on just what your heart might be trying to tell you.