Your Resting Heart Rate Is Telling You More Than You Think

Your Resting Heart Rate Is Telling You More Than You Think

Your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is your heart rate upon waking in the morning, before you get out of bed and start your breakfast, shower and commute to work. Studies are now finding that your Resting Heart Rate is an indicator of your basic fitness level and a strong predictor of cardiovascular health.

Checking your Resting Heart Rate is a painless way to check your health. Upon waking for 3 consecutive mornings take your RHR. You need to determine heart beats per minute. You can do that by counting your heart beats for 10 seconds and multiplying that number by 6. Take your 3 different days’ numbers add them together and divide by 3. This will give you a Resting Heart Rate number. If you can”t accurately find your pulse a blood pressure monitor often reports heart beats per minute. The best results will be upon waking, if that is not possible make sure your rest quietly and de-stress for at least 15 minutes before determining your beats per minute.

Normal Adult Range is 60-80 Beats per Minute (bpm)
Athletes Range is 35-50 bpm
The better shape you are in the fewer beats per minute.

Your RHR tells you lots about your cardiovascular health. Having a high RHR is a risk factor independent of other risk factors such as; hypertension, diabetes, and smoking. So paying attention to our RHR while effortless in determining; is important.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the #1 killer in the United States for men and women in all ethnic groups. It 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. In the same way that women self-check their breast for lumps we should all do a quick RHR check monthly too. You not only want to keep your RHR number low but you also want to watch for increases in your RHR number which may be a sign that something isn”t working like it should.

Higher Resting Heart Rates can indicate atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and also restrictions in the diameter of your blood vessels. When your heart is forced to work harder because of these two conditions it can wear out faster. Talk with your doctor for a RHR over 80.

Things that elevate your heart rate: smoking, exercise, caffeine, cold medications, stress, lack of activity, and weight.

The good news is your heart is a muscle! And muscles can be made stronger through exercise. Regular aerobic exercise will make your heart stronger and make it operate more efficiently. The American Heart Association recommends exercise that increases your heart rate between 50% and 75% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes most days of the week.

Your Action Steps:

  • 1Use the Target Heart Rate Calculator to determine your heart rate goal levels during exercise.
  • 2You need to determine heart beats per minute.
  • 3Get a quality heart rate monitor like the Schosche, it is awesome.
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44 Comments

    1. Cecilia

      my cardiologist told me to check my blood pressure every morning after i empty my bladder. so today it was 110, 77, 93. I recently did four ekg’s, echocardiogram, and stress test and they are all normal. But for 1.5 months I been having chest pains and hard to breath throught the throat. THey are still trying to find out what I have. I was given acid reflux, and GERD medication since my chest pains and shortness of bread started.

    1. Niño Abrenica

      My heart rate is at 89 and I’m also having chest pains and difficulty in breathing. Check yourself with a cardiologist to help yourself recover from that possible heart disease. :D cheer up and pray

    2. Ralph

      Number of beats x volume moved per beat = total volume moved

      Which basically says that your heart is beating fast because it is not moving enough volume per beat or there is a high demand for overall volume.
      Leaky valves and sclerotic vessels which impair heart chamber filling and emptying are some causes of poor per beat volume. Metabolic conditions can cause a need for a high total volume–look for this if you are underweight. In general, your heart is being overworked a bit. I would make an effort to reduce it by taking the necessary steps. You sound to be a good candidate for medical evaluation.

  1. youssef Reply

    I’m a sport man i practice professional football 30 years ago , but i continue my daily jogging for 40 minutes
    my heart beat at rest is 63/min am i in good condition physique ? my actual age is 50 years 9 days as at today.

    1. Terry

      Well Yousseff you are at Normal levels, I was morbidly obese for 20 years, 5 years ago I changed my entire life around, back into weights and higher intensity than normal cardio, my resting heart rate hovers between 47 and 52. I’ve found that High Intensity cardio ( push yourself as hard as you can ) works the heart muscle amazingly well. I am 51 years old, keep up the good work

  2. Kevin Reply

    Hey Mark I’m the same age as you and height and weight also. And my HR is about the same as yours, I walk quite a bit though and do work out but I have a belly on me.

  3. tracey Reply

    Im 37 and a little over weight and my resting heart beat is 48 is this bad …blood pressure is 100/60 … my blood pressure its always been low but not so much the heart rate

  4. Wayne Reply

    I can not get a reading/or false reading on any equipment that involves electric reading. I have heart disease. When I go the doctor, they can get a reading with the blow of arm band and stethoscope. Any ideas?
    Thanks

  5. Tim Swanson Reply

    When measuring resting heart rate (rhr) be sure to check it when you wake up in the morning, or after you have been sitting down relaxing for at least 30 minutes. I am a 36 year old male 6’2″ about 212 pounds, and I exercise regularly. My rhr is about 55-60 bpm.

  6. Tamsyn Josephs Reply

    Hi I’m 47 , I’m fairly fit through doing my horses but not an athlete. My resting heart rate is 47 . Should I be worried. I do sometimes feel like lead.

  7. Emile Reply

    Hello! I’m a 17 yr old practicing badminton twice a week. My heart rate is 51 bpm. But I’m far from muscular! Is there a difference between athleticism and muscle?

  8. Sarah Yearout Reply

    I’m 56, 5’1″ , 112 lb female. I’ve been under extreme stress. My normal BP 110/60 resting HB 79. over the past4 weeks since a bacteral infection my BP goes up 148/ 87 HB 110
    I CAN FEEL MY HEART BEEPING FAST AS THE STRESS GET’S GREATER. I feel overwhelmed and scared but I have to keep caring for others. Any advice would be greatly welcomed. Ps went to a med. Clinic although, I have the wrong insurance plan.,I was told to go to emergence room.

    1. ruth Fell

      I see that you wrote last year Sarah. Do you still have problems with your heart/stress etc? My life right now sounds very similar to what your was like when you wrote your message here and I wonder how it turned out and if your heart returned to normal when stress was gone? thanks. God bless you!

  9. Pat Pytlik Reply

    Im a professional athlete my RHR is 43 BPM my father never played sports in his life and his RHR is 54. When is it a concern ? doctors have checked me out when I need a ECG prior to a fight but I’m usually out and about when they check me and they don’t seem to be concerned.

  10. Susan Reply

    I have a resting heart rate of 53bpm. I am 43 and a woman I weight 16 stone 7 pounds. Yes I am over weight. Should I be worried about my bpm with me not being athletic?

  11. faye Reply

    I would like to know why my resting heart rate is always below 60bpm. Usually around 50bpm. Up until 6months ago I was fairly unfit.I mean no strenous exercise and my hr remained this low. I’ve started running 20+miles per week my resting hr remains the same around 50bpm. I had heart scan hooked up to a monitor and ecg as was getting palpitations back last year but all results came back ok. Should I have any concerns. Just also to mention my dad has had 3heart attacks and his blood pressure and resting heart rate has also ben relatively low.

    1. Bolsin dheep

      I’m 47 6’6″ 230 lbs. and my rhr is 49 . I used to Play football in my younger years and run quarter mile in my sports car.

  12. Candice Guevara Reply

    Hello-
    I am a 23 year old female, weigh 110 pounds, and am in pretty good shape other than tone. My resting heart rate is at 105.

    I don’t work out like I used to but I am pretty active with my life (as in walking, doing things? Going places, etc). I don’t drink extensive amounts of caffeine, coffee maybe every other day or so, and stay extremely hydrated with pretty much just water.

    I don’t have too much going on in my life to stress me out or even become anxious about. I have had a really difficult time sleeping the past few nights due to being woken up by my heart racing. It’s been really difficult to deal with. It feels like I’m having a constant adrenaline rush and I can’t catch my breathe.

    Any thoughts??

    1. Marcella

      I hope you’re doing better as it’s been some time since your post. Talk to your doctor of course but your weight is low and I know if you are underweight it can cause high rhb. Wish you well.

  13. Michael Reply

    Hi I’m 40 years old my rhr is 58 this morning. It is 2 in the morning as woke up hot and sweating and have a headache. Admittedly i have a cold or virus of some sort. Only concern is ive been getting palpitations since Christmas last year on an irregular basis which has now increased to every day. My grandfather had a triple bypass at 60 and died shortly thereafter. My father had a severe stroke at 36 and my mother had a series of mini strokes between the age of 58 and 60. Should i be worried?

  14. Matéo Reply

    I’m a 28 year old male and a smoker. My heart rate sometimes goes all the way down to 43 at times. I am not an athlete. Also, my last EKG was fine. Should I get checked for anything?

  15. Jacob ramsden Reply

    I’m 22 years old, (male) I’ve quit smoking about a month ago and cut all junk food out just eat fruit vegetables and chicken and basically low calorie food. I’ve been on the exercise bike over the past few weeks not everyday by any means. My resting heart rate is between 53-58 bpm that’s before I get out of bed on a morning but seems to go to normal after getting up.. but once I sit down again and relax it goes back down.. I have no symptoms like dizziness etc.. sometimes I feel tired when it goes that low BUT I also suffer with anxiety and over think every possible situation.. advice please.

  16. Angela Reply

    I’m 54 had open heart 3 years ago. I been have spell where you heart rate drop and I have dizzy spells and about black out, but this morning waking up my heart rate was 113.im to have a pacemaker next week. Was wondering will that also help with pluses been up.

  17. David Reply

    Iam 45 yrs old, and ride a bike consistently, I’ve been training all winter with weights, doing only legs 3 times a week, as of 10 days only riding, this morning rhr was 47 beats per minute, I would Love to see lower but I’m relatively happy with my HR, in the last year I have changed my eating habits, trying to get my sugar intake down, as if 2 weeks ago I cut sugar out of my coffee, iam a 4 cup a day guy, and that would amount to 8 to 10 teaspoons of sugar a day just with coffee, I don’t eat processed food, after dinner though I have chocolate everyday, is this a bad habit lol
    My weight 163 I’m 6 foot I’m cut and hard as a rock, constantly get asked if iam a Ironman? Lol and I don’t exercise! I only train

  18. Michele O'Riley Reply

    Hi I’m a 60 year old woman my heart BPM has been between 100 /110 for last few weeks what should l do

    1. Summer

      Hey Michelle! I hope you have gone to your Dr or made an appt to see a Cardiologist by the time you read this. If not, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE ANOTHER SECOND! Get yourself to one ASAP! I’m 57 years old and am going through the same thing. Do you have a family history of heart problems? My dad’s mom had hereditary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (known as a muscle bound heart back in the day). Dad inherited it and it’s looking like I have too. I have high blood pressure and as of TODAY it’s within reason, but not my heart rate. I’ve seen my cardiologist before but it still took 6 weeks to get in to see him this time. That’s why I’m urging you to get that appointment…like yesterday?! First my BP wouldn’t go down and was staying at READINGS like 191/111 and 179/140. Then Monday my heart rate went to 197 … and no, I didnt make a typo. Today my BP has been more “normal” after med change except HR is still too high and if I get up and do anything this evening it goes way up. Walked out to feed my rescued dogs. Nothing strenuous. Everything soared and my HR went to 168 and my heart hurt like HELL!!! I understood why it scared my Dad when he went through it in the 90’s. Wish he was still here. Well, I know he’s with me even though he’s been gone for 10 years but I just wish I could talk to him about this and actually hear his voice. Please, make that appt because this came fast and hard. When I was told I had to wait 6 wks I asked God to just get me to the Dr on April 30th. HE did. Now I need HIM to get me through until testing is run and problems fixed.
      I lost my Dr of 30 years due to Insurance carrier BS. She was also 130 miles away and my ex husband and I had moved to Central Texas in 2004. No one around here takes my insurance. Seriously! Plus, I’m in very small town Texas. You do not have quality medical care like I did, and was accustomed to, in Houston. I had to deal with local Family Practice when I needed, and had had Internal Medicine doctors since I became an adult. NOT being a snob but I have Hashimoto’s Disease and Epstein-Barre Virus which Family Medicine doesn’t seem to be able to care for even though I explained my issues and they claimed they had experience to handle and care for them Liars! Each one told me I was “too complicated a patient” and one when my BP was 186/96 in his office “it is still within normal range”!!!! Quacks!!! I had to deal with them for 5 or 6 months and by then my BP was sky high and my heart is going crazy. My best advice is don’t screw around when your BP is involved! Get to a Cardiologist! Now!! Take care and I hope your condition isn’t serious. I will be praying for you.
      Sincerely,
      Summer

    2. Mark

      A BP reading over 180 is not normal it is an emergency and you should go to an ER or call 911. You should not wait for an appointment to see your doctor. You will see a doctor quickly if you go to an ER. They cannot turn you away at an ER.

  19. Joy Sanders Reply

    Im 59 and have always had a bp that was a perfect 120/80 or a bit lower. I have had a shoulder problem for about 9 months. I was given an anti inflammatory but was allergic, I have many drug alergies. I was taking gabapentin for my back and fibromyalgia. So I took generic Aleve, and have been sick, I cant take nsaids, but did 4 days on and a day off. I woke upunable to see properly, dizzy, headache could feel my heart, was hoarse and sick. My neighbor came over n my bp was high. 157/90 but heart rate ok. I cant really excersize and dont know what to do about that. Im using her bp cuff and have yet to have a normal reading since I stopped the Aleve 3 days ago. Tonight my pulse was 45!! But my bp was high. I need some clarification. Dr on wed but she never has time for everything. I dont know what to do. Wed we will discuss my arm, and my going for an xray or to someone else, as I cannot raise or put out sideways. I got a shoulder brace. Ive been in a great deal of pain, and cant even dress properly!! I have been in my house on the sofa for months. Sigh. Advice? Im confused.

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