Resting Heart Rate and Your Health
When was the last time you checked your resting heart rate?
When you wake up tomorrow morning, before you swing your feet out of bed, take your pulse for 10 seconds. Multiply your 10 second count by 6 and you have your Resting Heart Rate. Here are a couple of other tips:
- Find your pulse at your wrist (the radial artery) or at your carotid artery in your neck.
- Use your index and middle finger not your thumb since it has its own pulse which can be confusing.
- If you are worried about being accurate, do your 10-second count a couple of times and use the average.
Your Resting Heart Rate indicates how hard your heart is working just to keep you alive. It is an excellent, and simple, way to evaluate your heart health and risk of heart disease. Many factors influence your resting heart rate including family history, age, activity level, weight, diet, and smoking.
So, what does your number mean?
60 or less = You are in good shape and at relative low risk for heart disease. It is important to keep track of your resting heart rate overtime, however, as an increase may indicate a change in your health and an increase in your risk.
61 to 70 = Good – but you should monitor your resting heart rate every 2 or 3 months. People with heart rates that rise from under 70 to over 85 increase their risk of heart disease by 40%. Keeping it below 70 can keep your risk low.
71 – 85 = It’s time to pay attention. Your heart is working harder than it should, but you are still close to the “good” range. Some small changes could make a big difference for you (tips below)
85 – 100 = High. You have entered the danger zone. Talk with your doctor about your heart health and risk of heart disease and take proactive steps to reduce the strain on your heart.
101 or more = Abnormally high – it is time to act!
What Can You Do?
- Keep Track: One of the easiest tools to monitor your heart health is Resting Heart Rate. A rise in RHR may indicate an increase in your risk of heart disease.
- Don’t smoke: One of the quickest ways to decrease your RHR – and improve your overall health – is to quit smoking. You start to reap the benefits of increased capacity within weeks. More info
- Move Your Bootie: Getting more exercise, moving around more each day, will decrease your HRH, improve your overall health, and help you be more productive. Are you sitting too much?
- Eat some veggies:Some whole grains, lean protein, and some fruit too! Filling your plate with grow foods and maintaining a healthy weight with decrease your HRH and improve your health (and you’ll feel better too!)
- Sleep: Getting enough sleep (6 – 8 hours per night) is essential to good health. Sleep is your body’s way of shedding the stress of the day. Be kind to yourself and your body and sleep well. Stress and sleep tips
Take a few seconds tomorrow morning and pay attention to the beat of your heart!
Eliz Greene works busy people to improve heart health, so they can work well, feel better, and stress less.
She is a heart attack survivor and the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after heart health, stress management, & wellness speaker.
If you are planning a women’s wellness program, workplace wellness program or programs for healthcare professionals check out EmbraceYourHeart.com to see if Eliz would be a good fit with your organization.