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 .
Two Caveats To Keep In Mind
If you notice a change in your resting heart rate but none of the scenarios above seem plausible, there are two other factors that may be playing a part: age and medication.
Resting Heart Rate Increases With AgeMost of the time your RHR can be modified. Unfortunately, as you get older, your RHR tends to increase. To reduce the impact that aging can have on your cardiovascular system, you can help maximize your results by exercising within your target HR zone to help lower your resting heart rate.
Medication Affects Resting Heart RateChanges in your resting heart rate can also result from over-the-counter or prescription medications. Medications to treat asthma, depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder tend to increase your RHR. However, medications prescribed for hypertension and heart conditions typically decrease your resting heart rate.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.
Learn What Is A Normal Heart Rate And How To Find Your Pulse With Your Fingers Or A Device
Measuring your heart rate is any easy way to gauge your health, as it provides a real-time snapshot of your heart muscle function. For most adults, a normal resting heart ratethe number of heartbeats per minute while at restranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. A normal heart rate can vary from person to person. However, an unusually high or low resting heart rate can be a sign of trouble.
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What Does Your Heart Rate Tell You
Heart rate or pulse rate is the number of times your heart beats in a minute. It tells you how hard your heart must work every minute to pump blood all throughout the body.;
When you are at rest, the heart rate is slower, as the heart pumps blood to cover a minimal amount of body functions. Your heart rate increases when you exercise and your muscles need more oxygen and energy and return to normal within an hour or so afterward.;
Although daily activities may change your heart rate, certain medical conditions also cause the heart rate to change beyond normal exertion and may indicate underlying health problems that need medical attention.;;
If You Slow Your Resting Heart Rate Can You Slow Down Aging
Having a lower resting heart rate is associated with having a longer lifespan.
Athletes generally have a lower resting heart rate due to their physical fitness.
One study found that the more physically fit you are, the lower the resting pulse. The same study found that even controlling for physical fitness, people with a higher resting heart rate had a shorter life expectancy compared to those with a lower resting heart rate.
So a high resting heart rate is not just a marker of risk, but a risk factor for premature death. The difference between a risk marker and a risk factor is that if you can control the risk factor, you can control the risk.
Why Is A High Resting Heart Rate Dangerous?
If your heart is beating fast 24 hours a day, all that circulatory stress can damage; the elastic fibers supporting your arterial walls causing them to become stiff. Your arteries do not have enough time to relax between beats.
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An Introduction To Resting Heart Rate
Resting Heart Rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute while you’re at rest. It provides a snapshot of your sleep quality, recovery, stress response, activity level, and overall health.
Normal RHR in adults can range anywhere from 40-100 beats per minute . Oura develops an individualized baseline for your RHR so you can quickly notice when something is off.
Variation beyond 3-5 BPM above or below your personal average may be a sign of low recovery or excessive stress on your body, such as illness, poor diet choices, late-night eating, or lack of sleep.
The Importance of Resting Heart Rate
Resting heart rate is an indicator of both long and short-term health.
- In the long-term, a low RHR is generally a sign of better cardiovascular health, physical fitness, and recovery.
- In the short-term, a high RHR can indicate behaviors you have control over, such as internal stress, eating patterns, or exercise habits. These can be positive or negative, depending on the context. For example, completing a difficult workout is a positive precursor to an elevated RHR. Meanwhile, undergoing mental distress from work is generally viewed as a negative source of rises in RHR.
A Lower RHR is a Good Sign
As your heart becomes more efficient, youre able to do more without increasing your heart rate, allowing your body to take on less strain.
How Oura Measures Resting Heart Rate
As displayed in the Sleep view shown below, Oura provides you with the following RHR metrics:
How Do You Find Your Pulse
The easiest place to find your pulse is in your wrist.
- Turn your hand so that your palm is facing upwards.
- Now place the three middle fingers from your other hand over your wrist below the base of your thumb.
- Press lightly to feel the pulse under your fingers. If you can’t feel anything press slightly harder.
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Your Resting Heart Rate Can Reflect Your Current And Future Health
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men’s Health Watch
One of the easiest, and maybe most effective, ways to gauge your health can be done in 30 seconds with two fingers.;Measuring your resting heart rate; the number of heart beats per minute while youre at rest is a real-time snapshot of how your heart muscle is functioning.
Its easy to do. Place your index and middle finger on your wrist just below the thumb, or along either side of your neck, so you can feel your pulse. Use a watch to count the number of beats for 30 seconds and double it to get your beats per minute. Repeat a few times to ensure an accurate reading. While a heart rate is considered normal if the rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, most healthy relaxed adults have a resting heart rate below 90 beats per minute.
Keep Your Doctor Informed Of Your Resting Heart Rate
This article is not meant to diagnose or treat you. Its intended to help you understand one aspect of your health, your resting heart rate. This article is based on scientific research, but science is continually changing. Thus, this information is subject to change.
Everyone is different and has unique circumstances. Consult with your doctor about any changes in your health, diet, and exercise.
Read my full medical disclaimer here.
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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.
What Your Heart Rate Can And Cant Tell You About Your Health
Before the rise in popularity of fitness trackers and smartwatches, cardiologist Sadiya Khan said patients rarely came in with questions about why their heart rates seemed high or low. But the growing interest in wearable devices, which some early research suggests can even detect coronavirus symptoms, means many people have a trove of real-time health information at their fingertips.
I see a lot more people asking about heart rate because you can track it, you can monitor it, you can make pretty graphs on your Apple Watch, said Khan, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine.
But while your heart rate can be a key indicator of your health, Khan and other experts emphasized that it is just one piece of the puzzle.
Its a place to start, said Seth Martin, a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins. If thats your entry into thinking about ones health, then thats great. But your heart rate cant tell you everything you need to know about your health, he added, and it is important not to fixate on that one measure.
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Why Has My Resting Heart Rate Increased
As shown above, there are many factors to consider if you find yourself suddenly asking why is my resting heart rate getting higher? Its important to first think about the aspects that can contribute towards a raised resting heart rate that isnt a cause for concern.
Most people will notice their resting heart rate rising with age.
Most people will notice their RHR rising with age. While you cant control your bodys aging process, you can reduce its impact on your cardiovascular system. Try exercising within a variety of heart rate zones as this can be effective in reducing resting heart rate.
Not getting enough sleep can contribute towards your resting heart rate going up. If youre always exhausted, you could be experiencing chronic sleep deprivation. Not only does this lead to feelings of fatigue and a slower metabolism but it can also result in resting heart rate increasing. You should always try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night to ensure your body is sufficiently recovered.
Similarly, if youre training at an intense level but not allowing your body enough time to rest, you may notice hey, my resting heart rate has gone up! This is a sign that you need to give your body the time to repair properly so it can absorb the benefits of your workouts. Otherwise, all that hard work could end up having a detrimental effect.
How Do I Calculate My Heart Rate
To calculate your target training heart rate, you need to know your resting heart rate. Resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when it’s at rest. The best time to find your resting heart rate is in the morning after a good night’s sleep and before you get out of bed. Typically, an adults resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute. However, for people who are physically fit, it’s generally lower. Also, resting heart rate usually rises with age.
- The best places to find your pulse are the wrists, inside of your elbow, side of your neck or top of your foot.
- To get the most accurate reading, put your finger over your pulse and count the number of beats in 60 seconds.
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What Are The Best Places To Check Pulse
The best places to check your heart rate are your wrist, the side of your neck, the inside of your elbow, and the top of your foot .
How to Check Your Pulse Video
Watch Emily Reeve, the Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, show you how to check your pulse.
Heart Rate Monitors
You can track your heart rate with a wrist monitor like the popular LETSCOM Fitness Tracker .
Or, check out this detailed review of heart rate monitors to help you find the right one for you.
Heart rate monitors make it easier to track your heart rate consistently and learn which activities raise or lower your pulse the most.
Which Factors Can Influence Heart Rate
Many things can affect your heart rate, including:
- physical activity if youve been moving around a lot, your heart rate will increase
- fitness level your resting heart rate may be lower if youre very fit
- air temperature on hot days, your heart needs to pump more quickly
- emotions such as feeling stressed or overly excited
- medicines some can decrease your resting heart rate , while others can increase it
- age with age, the rate and regularity of your pulse can change and can be a sign of a heart problem.
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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.
Warm Up And Cool Down
Warming up before exercising and cooling down afterwards helps your heart move gradually from rest to activity and back again. You also decrease your risk of injury or soreness.
- Your warm-up should last at least 10 minutes longer if you are older or have been inactive for a long time.
- Making time for a cool-down is also especially important. If you stop exercising too quickly, your blood pressure can drop sharply, which can be dangerous and can cause muscle cramping.
- Adding some relaxing yoga poses to your routine will also increase your flexibility.
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Resting Heart Rate Chart By Age And Gender
A resting heart rate chart shows the normal range for resting heart rate by age and physical condition. Athletes, those who are physically active, tend to have a lower RHR than those who are less active.
The average heart rate generally increases with age. But many factors determine your heart rate at any moment. These factors include the time of day, your activity level, and your stress level.
Understanding Your Target Heart Rate
Nearly all exercise is good. But to be sure youre getting the most fromyour workout yet staying at a level thats safe for you, you can monitorhow hard your heart is working.
Aiming for whats called a target heart rate can help you do this, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist;Seth Martin, M.D., M.P.H.;Think of it as the sweet spot between not exercising hard enough and overexerting.
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