Your resting heart rate is how many times your heart beats in a minute when you are at rest. When you heart beats it pushes blood throughout the body. People whose heart has to work harder will have a higher resting heart rate than those with a very strong heart. A very strong heart pumps more blood with each beat and therefore requires fewer beats per minute.
Your resting heart rate then is a decent indicator of your heart strength. The resting heart rate is best taken in the morning before you get out of bed. By placing your fingers on the neck or wrist to find a pulse and tracking beats per minute you will arrive at your resting heart rate. To avoid counting beats for an entire minute, you can count them for ten seconds and take the result times 6 for the same answer.
Many elite athletes have very low resting heart rates. Long distance runners who work their hearts on a daily basis through extended training and cardiovascular exercise may have a resting heart rate as low as 30 in extreme cases. Ideally, adults want to have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Average resting heart rates for men are typically 70 and for women, 75.
Because the resting heart rate can be a good indicator of overall cardiovascular health it is something you should monitor. It can be interesting to take your heart rate before beginning a fitness training program and then again several weeks into it. There is no doubt you will see a reduction in the resting heart rate.
Activities that strengthen the heart and therefore lower the resting heart rate are called cardio or aerobic activities. Cardio exercises are an important part of any fitness program, burning calories and increasing heart health. Things like running, brisk walking, kickboxing, and bicycling are all good cardio activities that will aid in the strengthening of your heart.
Your resting heart rate is also used to determine a number called your “target heart rate”. Your target heart rate is the number of beats per minute you want your heart to reach during cardio activities. This number represents a good spot for calorie burning and for increasing heart strength. Check out this blog post for more information about finding your target heart rate.
By using your resting heart rate as a measuring tool in heart health, you can see how your cardio program aids your heart strength over time. It’s fascinating to watch that number drop as your heart gets more efficient at pumping blood through the body.