A heart rate measurement measures the number of beats per minute performed by the heart. The resting heart rate (or RHR) is a measurement of the number of heart beats per minute whilst your body is at rest. RHR varies from person to person, but the lower the resting heart rate, generally speaking, the fitter you are. If you want to lower your heart rate follow the link.
On average, professional athletes have resting heart rates between 40 – 50 beats per minute (bpm), whilst an average man will have a rate of 70 bpm and women, 75 bpm. However, RHR can vary as much as between 60 bpm to 100 bpm .
Measuring Your RHR
A reliable way to measure resting heart rate is immediately after waking up in the morning. This is because your body has been resting for 7- 8 hours. You can mesure heart rate using a heart rate monitor. Alternatively, you can find a pulse on your wrist or neck using your index and middle finger and counting the beats for 15-seconds and multiplying by four. By taking the readings on five different days and taking an average, you will get a more accurate reading.
Factors Affecting RHR
Aside from fitness and gender, the following factors will affect the resting heart rate:
- Age: the older the body the more strain is put on the heart to pump blood adequately around the body
- Medication: it is best to wait until you have finished a course of medication before measuring your resting heart rate
- Diet: excess caffeine, sugars and additives will increase heart rate readings
- Wellbeing and health: stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and general poor health will also produce high readings