February is National Heart Month, so it’s time to make sure your heart is healthy. In addition to your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI (body mass index), it’s critical to know your resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate can indicate whether your heart is in good cardiovascular health. According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death in the United States for both men and women of all ethnicities.
If your resting heart rate is too high, remember that your heart is a muscle. Like any other muscle, with the proper training, your heart can become stronger and more efficient.
What is your resting heart rate?
Your resting heart rate is the speed at which your heart beats when you’re at rest. This will vary based on a handful of factors such as your age and physical fitness levels. Your resting heart rate provides insight into your overall cardiovascular health.
What is the healthy range for resting heart rates?
Resting heart rates should range between 60-80 beats per minute (bpm), with the optimal number being under 70 bpm.
When’s the best time to obtain your resting heart rate?
The best time to obtain your resting heart rate is in the morning, right when you wake up. If you’re taking your heart rate manually, the American Heart Association recommends using the tips of your first two fingers and pressing lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist. Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute and this number is your resting heart rate. Note: Most activity trackers have heart rate sensors built-in.
What to do if your resting heart rate is on the higher end of the range?
If your heart rate is on the higher end, don’t sweat. Well, you might want to think about hitting the gym or finding an exercise buddy! The best way to lower your resting heart rate is through routine vigorous exercise. It’s important to talk to your doctor and determine the best ways for you to strengthen your heart.
What are the best ways to lower your resting heart rate?
- Increase your exercise. You’ll receive the best benefits through a combination of interval, aerobic and resistance exercises. Choose an exercise that increases your heart rate between 50% and 75% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes most days of the week. Moderate exercise, such as walking, has not been shown to have a big impact on changing your resting heart rate.
- Reduce your stress levels. Managing your stress can help lower your heart rate over time. Practicing relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, or meditation can help reduce your resting heart rate.
- Cut out tobacco. Smoking and tobacco use of any kind can increase your heart rate. Eliminating tobacco not only reduces your resting heart rate, it greatly improves your overall heart health.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can cause your heart to work harder and speed up to adequately supply blood to your body.
Would losing weight help lower my resting heart rate?
Losing weight would definitely help lower your heart rate. It would allow your heart to slow down the rate it pumps blood and experience less stress on a daily basis. Changing your diet and increasing exercise can help you achieve a healthy weight and BMI as well as help increase your cardiovascular heart health.
Could exercise alone help achieve a healthy weight?
While exercise is a helpful component in losing weight, diet and portion control are the main factors for achieving a healthy weight. Even people who are eating healthy foods can have too much of a good thing. Measuring your portion sizes with our new Precision Digital Kitchen Scale can ensure that you are not eating more than you need.
If you’re serious about losing weight, keeping a food diary and regular weigh-ins will help help you stick with your weight loss goals. In addition to weight, our Precision CalPal Digital Bathroom Scale estimates your BMI and the daily amount of calories you need to maintain your current weight, making it the perfect accountability buddy.
Are there other factors that could increase the resting heart rate?
Other factors such as medication, dehydration, certain supplements, exercise overtraining, heat, humidity, and caffeine can cause your heart rate to increase or become erratic. If you also experience chest pains, dizziness, or problems breathing, you should call your doctor.
Monitoring your resting heart rate is one more tool for keeping your heart healthy. It’s easy to do and it costs you nothing. Not paying attention to your heart, on the other, hand can be very costly to your health.