Knowing your heart rate (HR) helps to monitor your fitness level. In this article, we will give you a complete guide about healthy resting heart rate. The heartbeat rate, or pulse, represents the number of times the heart pumps in a minute. Heart rate varies from person to person and knowing your own can be an essential sensor of heart health. As we age, the pulse frequency and regularity can change; the changes may be due to heart conditions or other conditions that need attention.
Heart rate and blood pressure
Very often, it is thought that heart rate is closely related to blood pressure. But the results of the two measurements allow different considerations and, above all, do not necessarily increase proportionally to each other.
If, for example, the number of beats in a minute increases, even considerably, the body can compensate for this greater thrust of the blood by favoring the blood vessels’ dilation. And this reducing the pressure exerted on the walls; this phenomenon occurs, for example, during physical activity. The healthy resting heart rate increases considerably in intense exercise, while blood pressure only undergoes a very modest increase.
Healthy resting heart rate
Heart rate is a measure of the number of heartbeats in one minute. Most literature and medical associations cite a frequency between 60 and 100 beats per minute at rest (i.e., after at least 10 minutes of resting) as average values. Is seated and relaxed).
In the case of children, the values can be proportionally higher:
- Infants 0 – 1 month: 70 – 190 bpm
- Children 1 – 11 months: 80 – 160 bpm
- Children 1 – 2 years: 80 – 130 bpm
- So the children 3 – 4 years: 80 – 120 bpm
- Children 5 – 6 years: 75 – 115 bpm
- Children 7 – 9 years: 70 – 110 bpm
Alterations concerning the average values are respectively called
- when the beats are faster,
- when the number of beats per minute is lower.
However, it is an increasingly widespread opinion and supported by numerous studies that a correct normal range is that between 50 and 90 BMP, as higher values are correlated with a significant increase in cardiovascular risk. In general, a lower healthy resting heart rate rest implies better heart function and better physical shape. It is common in well-trained athletes to find significantly lower values between 40 and 60 bpm. During sleep, on the other hand, lower values are typical for anyone, equal to 40-50 beats per minute or even lower.
Healthy resting heart rate factors that can affect
Many factors can influence the heartbeat rate, for example:
- work out,
- temperature and humidity of the air (if they increase, the heart can accelerate accordingly, for a maximum of 5-10 more beats per minute),
- body position (especially if you have just moved, while after a couple of minutes the heartbeat returns to basal levels regardless of work),
- Sensations, emotions, stress, …
- obesity (may slightly increase frequency),
- Drugs (beta-blockers, for the thyroid, …).
Finally, we underline that heart rate and blood pressure are not necessarily correlated with each other; even if the heart starts beating faster, the pressure does not necessarily go up as a result because the nervous system could intervene by increasing the number and opening of blood vessels thus maintaining the value constant despite the increase in strength.
When to contact your doctor: Healthy Resting Heart Rate
Although many factors can affect the measurement results, an unusually high or low value could indicate a pathological problem; it is therefore recommended to consult the doctor if the resting heart rate is permanently higher than 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) or in case of resting results lower than 60 beats per minute (bradycardia) if not justified by a high-level sporting practice.
The recommendation is all the more true in case of symptoms such as:
- episodes of fainting,
- shortness of breath (dyspnea)
Healthy resting heart rate: Measurement and average values
The most reliable detection is obtained at the level of:
- inner elbow,
- side of the neck,
- dorsum of the foot,
But it can also be measured in other areas where arterial vessels run close to the skin. In particular:
- knee socket,
- the inner side of the foot.
To measure the pulse rate, it is necessary to place the index’s fingertips and middle fingers on the inner face of the other side, at the height of the base of the thumb. Then exert light pressure, keeping your fingertips flat until you feel the pulsations. To measure the frequency at the neck, place the fingertips of the index and middle fingers. Just to the side of Adam’s apple, in the yielding part. Press lightly until you find your pulse. Before measuring the pulse at the level of the neck, sit down or lie down. In some people, the vessels in the neck are reactive to pressure. This can cause fainting or slow heart rate. Also, do not take your pulse on both sides of the neck at the same time. Such a maneuver can slow blood flow to the head and result in fainting.
The fitter, a person is, the lower the resting heart rate. For Steinbaum, a resting frequency of 80 might be correct but not synonymous with health.
- The term tachycardia refers to an accelerated pulse, a resting rate greater than 100 bpm (beats per minute).
- The bradycardia is instead a slow pulse, with a speed at rest less than 60 bpm.
Bradycardia, when the heart rate is low.
Several beats less than 60 do not necessarily signal a problem. It could be a consequence of taking drugs such as beta-blockers. A low value is also typical of very athletic subjects or those who practice sports intensively.
Effect on the heart rate of other factors
- Ambient temperature: a sudden increase in temperatures (and humidity) slightly increase the work of the heart so that the heart rate can increase.
- Body position: generally, the pulse is the same while lying, sitting, or standing, but sometimes in the first 15 – 20 seconds of standing, the heart rate may slightly increase and then return to fundamental values within a couple of minutes.
- Emotions: In conditions of stress, anxiety, or excitement (extreme euphoria or despair), the heart rate can increase.
- Body Size: Typically, they do not affect the wrist. Subjects in a condition of obesity may have a resting frequency slightly higher than average but tend not to exceed 100.
- Medicines: Medicines that block the action of adrenaline (beta-blockers) tend to slow the pulse, while an excess of drugs to stimulate the thyroid (in a condition of hypothyroidism) increases it.
When to call the doctor
The doctor may ask the patient to monitor and record their healthy resting heart rate against beta-blocker treatment to reduce the pulse (and blood pressure ) or check for abnormal rhythms ( arrhythmias ). Knowing the pulse pattern can help the doctor determine whether to change the dosage or even the prescribed medication.
If the pulse is shallow or if you experience frequent unexplained episodes of tachycardia (especially if the tachycardia causes you to feel faint or dizzy or faint), tell your doctor, who will need to decide if this is an emergency. The wrist is a tool that helps establish health conditions.
Maximum heart rate
When exercising, do you overdo it, or are you not pushing hard enough?
There is a simple way to determine this: the ideal heart rate, which helps reach and maintain the right level. According to Dr. Gerald Fletcher, cardiologist and lecturer at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Florida, physical activity must be balanced, neither too much nor too little.
The starting point: Healthy Resting Heart Rate
Before learning how to calculate and monitor your ideal exercise heart rate, you will need to know your resting pulse, the latter being the number of beats per minute in resting conditions. It is best to measure in the morning, after a good night’s sleep, and before getting up.
According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate is:
- 60 – 100 bpm in children from 10 years of age and adults (including the elderly)
- 40 – 60 bpm in well-trained athletes
Reach the ideal frequency
Once your resting heart rate has been established, you can determine your ideal exercise heart rate. During physical activity:
- Periodically take your heart rate, measuring it on the inside of the wrist, from the side of the thumb.
- Use the index’s fingertips and middle fingers (not the thumb) to squeeze the blood vessels in the wrist gently.
- Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to calculate the beats per minute.
- A heart rate between 50 and 85% of the maximum heart rate should be achieved. The ideal heart rate is within this range of values.
- The following table shows the ideal heart rates as a function of age. The maximum frequency is approximately 220 minus age.
In the age group closest to you, find the ideal heart rate value. During moderate physical activity, the perfect weight is about 50-69% of the maximum frequency, while for intense efforts, it is from about 70% to less than 90%.
Important Note: Some antihypertensive drugs lower the maximum heart rate and, therefore, the ideal heart rate range. If treated with such medications, consult your doctor to determine if a lower perfect heart rate should be used.
What the values say: Healthy Resting Heart Rate
If the heart rate is too high, the exertion is too much. It is, therefore, necessary to reduce it. If too low and the perception of the exercise’s intensity is “mild” or “moderate/intense,” you can intensify the effort a little. During the first few weeks of training, reach the lower levels of your ideal frequency range (50%) and gradually increase until you get the higher levels (85%). You can safely engage in physical activity up to ideal HR levels of 85% after six months or more. According to the researcher, however, this is not an absolute rule but only a useful tool. Orientation; if you do not know your values, remember that as an exercise. That prevents you from having a normal conversation could be excessive.
If you have heart disease or are in cardiac rehabilitation, consult your doctor about the type of exercise to be performed. What ideal heart rate to consider, and whether to perform the exercise under monitoring. This will also help you choose the types of physical activity appropriate for your training level and health goals, as some efforts are safer than others.
Healthy resting heart rate weight loss
In many cases, when we talk about the ideal heart rate for losing weight, we refer to the different fuel that the body uses depending on whether the physical-sporting effort is
- intense (carbohydrates are burned),
- moderate (you burn fat),
Beyond the simplification of this vision (in reality, they always burn both or almost, at different percentages, also modulated by the service duration). It is a vision that focuses on values that we could define as surrogates. That instead loses sight of the main objective, weight reduction. To lose weight, the total calories consumed (therefore deriving from the basal metabolism as well as from any physical activity) must be higher than those introduced with the diet, regardless of the nutrients burned; it is, in fact, useful to remember in this regard that the human body is perfectly capable of converting carbohydrates into fats (this is what happens when we overeat and excess is accumulated).
It is counterproductive to limit the working healthy resting heart rate for the pursuit of this purpose. Thus also reducing total calorie consumption (if I have an hour to run, I will burn more calories by covering a longer distance. Even at the cost of a higher healthy resting heart rate). We, therefore, recommend setting up a correct workout. This considers your current state of form and the improvements acquired with exercise, not the ideal heart rate for primarily burning fat; combining this approach with a correct diet, weight loss will be the most obvious consequence.