What is a Normal Resting Heart Rate?
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Your resting heart rate is the number of times that your heart beats in one minute when you are at rest. More specifically, this means that in order to get an accurate reading, you must avoid physical activity before measuring. The normal range for an adult is between 60-100 beats per minute. Sometimes, people who are more athletic can fall below 60 beats per minute.
Why Should You Know Your Normal Resting Heart Rate?
Your heart is the pump that keeps you alive. You can think of it as an engine. When your body is running efficiently, the engine does not have to work as hard and so your heart rate is lower. However, if your body is running inefficiently because of disease, blockages, or other problems then the engine has to work harder and your heart pumps faster. Therefore, your normal resting heart rate can be a good indicator of how healthy you are. Although it is not the only indicator, it can also be an effective meter of how relaxed your body is and how physically fit you are. Typically, people with a lower resting heart rate tend to live longer.
How to Check Your Normal Resting Heart Rate
Sit down and rest for 5 minutes. Refrain from moving too much or engaging in physical activity. Set a timer for one minute. Take the middle and index finger on your right hand and place them on your neck where your windpipe meets your neck muscle. Here, you should feel your pulse. Start your timer and count how many pulses you feel in one minute. This number is your resting heart rate. See the video below for further details.
How to Lower Your Resting Heart Rate
Exercise is a proven way to lower your normal resting heart rate. Since exercise trains your body to function more efficiently, it helps to take some of the load off of your heart. Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise is best. This is no surprise since it is meant to strengthen your cardiovascular system so that you can perform for longer periods of time. Slower exercise like Yoga, Taichi, and Qi gong have also been shown to have a positive effect. Please see below for a workout that uses high intensity interval training to improve your cardiovascular health.
Often, a high resting heart rate is a sign of stress or restlessness. You can manage stress and calm your mind by consistently practicing meditation. Although meditation will not directly lower your heart rate, it can help you develop healthy mental and physical responses to situations that may cause your heart rate to rise.
Like meditation, getting organized is not directly correlated with a lower resting heart rate but it can also help reduce stress which forces your engine to work harder. Let’s be honest, when our work space is a mess, we don’t have a plan to conquer the day, and we procrastinate, stress builds up. Not to mention, when you try to tackle your day without a plan, you end up doing unhealthy things like multitasking which has been proven to increase stress. So, clean your desk and make a plan for your day. You might find that you feel more at ease and your heart does not have to work as hard.
A balanced diet is essential for overall health but it can also help to lower your normal resting heart rate. Overall, a balanced diet will help make your body more efficient and force your heart to pump less. Further, foods that can directly lower your heart rate include unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and low fat protein sources.
Your normal resting heart rate is an important indicator of your overall health. It shows how physically fit and relaxed your body is. Ultimately, it also shows how hard your heart has to work to keep you going. Normally, the lower it is the healthier you are. You should aim to keep it between 60-100 beats per minute.
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