Your Resting Heart Rate is an indicator of your basic fitness level and a predictor of your cardiovascular health.  A high Resting Heart Rate (RHR) can indicate atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or restrictions in the diameter of your blood vessels.

Your heart rate changes throughout the day.  The more active you are the faster is beats, so this changes during your day.  Heart rates also vary from person to person.

The lower your Resting Heart Rate is an indication of good health and good fitness. You not only want to keep your RHR number low but you also should watch for increases in your RHR.  Increases may be a sign that something in your body isn’t working like it should.


What is a normal Resting Heart Rate?

Normal Resting Heart Rate Range is 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Normal Resting Heart Rate Range for athletes is 35 to 50 beats per minute.


How do I find my Resting Heart Rate?

Your Resting Heart Rate is your heart rate when you first wake in the morning.  BEFORE you even get out of bed!

To determine your RHR upon waking for 3 consecutive days take your pulse rate before you get out of bed.  Determine the beats per minute.  Your can determine your beats per minute by counting your heart beats for 10 seconds and then multiplying that number by 6.

Take your 3 days of numbers add them together then divide by 3.  This will give you the average RHR for those 3 days.  This is your RHR Number.

If you can’t accurately find your pulse their are many fitness devices or blood pressure monitors that can help.

If you can’t take your pulse first thing upon waking.  Rest quietly and de-stress for at least 15 minutes and then determine your beats per minute.


Factors that Influence Your Resting Heart Rate:

  • Age  (RHR generally increases as you age.)
  • Exercise
  • Caffeine
  • Stress
  • Weight (being overweight)
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Lying Down or Standing Up
  • Medications (Even non-prescription cold medicines can affect your heart rate.)


Exercise can improve your RHR!

The good news is your heart is a muscle!  Muscles can be strengthened through exercise.  Regular aerobic exercise will make your heart stronger.  The American Heart Association recommends exercise that increases your heart rate for 30 minutes most days of the week.

If you don’t regularly exercise you should set your target heart rate at 50% of maximum to start and then gradually increase.  Talk with your doctor to help set realistic goals.

Use Health Surgeon’s Target Heart Rate Calculator to determine your optimal heart rate during exercise.


Cardiovascular Disease and Resting Heart Rate

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the #1 killer in the United States for men and women in all ethnic groups.  Your RHR is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  CVD is the leading cause of death for all Americans over the age of 35.  Cardiovascular disease kills 10 times more women every year than breast cancer.



Knowing your Resting Heart Rate can help you analyze your overall health!  It is easy and painless to track your RHR.  A high RHR may indicate something is not right with your cardiovascular health and you should seek medical advice from a health care professional.  A resting heart rate that is lower is better.  You can improve your heart health with exercise!



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