If you want to find out your resting heart rate, pick a time when you’re not active, find your pulse, count how many times it beats in 30 seconds, and then double that number. You may want to check it several times throughout the day, or over a week, to average out the number and to look for any irregularities.
Resting heart rates can change from person to person and throughout the day, influenced by everything from your mood to your environment. It rises when you’re excited or anxious, and sometimes in response to smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee. More athletic people tend to have lower heart rates.
What Your Heart Rate Says About Your Cardiovascular Health
Your heart is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body and if you’re having heart troubles, the rest of your body will be impacted too.
A higher resting heart rate can be dangerous because it taxes the heart, making it work harder. This is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death, just like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Resting heart rates that near or exceed 100 should be brought to the attention of your doctor.
That said, a heart rate that’s too low is risky as well. This is less because a low heart rate is likely to cause any issues than because it can indicate underlying illness like an underactive thyroid, Lyme disease, or even a heart attack.
Your resting heart rate’s pace and regularity can provide information about your cardiovascular health. If you find the beats are not regular and you suffer from fatigue, dizziness, confusion, or can’t exercise, it could mean something more serious is going on.
How Can You Improve — or Lower — Your Heart Rate?
There are several ways you can lower your resting heart rate to a healthier level and minimize the risk it poses.
Athletes have lower heart rates because exercise is proven to lower heart rates. And you don’t have to run a marathon to see results — incorporating 30 minutes of walking or another low-impact exercise into your daily routine is a good place to start. Take it slow and find out what works for you, and make sure to exercise with care, and only after consulting your doctor.
Relaxation techniques can also help. If you’ve ever had an interest in yoga or meditation, now is the time to try it out. Experts say relaxation techniques are effective at lowering high resting heart rates. This is especially true when the high rate is associated with high anxiety, because relaxation tends to address the root cause of the higher heart rate.
Finally, medication is always an option when you need to lower your resting heart rate. To have an elevated rate for an extended or even short period of time is hard on your heart. If you’re worried, talk to your doctor about the right medication to bring your rate down to healthier levels, and work on finding the cause and alternative solutions after your heart rate is better controlled.
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2 responses to “What Your Resting Heart Rate Says About You￼”
Thanks for explaining that it is interesting. Now if I could just take my pulse properly then I’d be laughing.
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My Apple Watch gives a pulse reading. I bet FitBit does, too.