Resting Heart Rate Reflecting Health Conditions

Doctors believe checking resting pulse is one of the easiest, and maybe most effective, ways to gauge your health, current and future. By measuring the number of heart beats per minute while you’re at rest — is a real-time snapshot of how your heart muscle is functioning.

It’s easy to test your pulse. Place your index and middle finger on your wrist just below the thumb, or along either side of your neck, so you can feel your pulse. Count your heart beats for 30 seconds and times two, you’ll get the number of your pulse every minute. You may need to repeat a few times to ensure accuracy.

Normal pulse for adults is 60-100 beats per minute.

What the numbers tell you?

Your resting heart rate, also called RHR, along with your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, can help identify potential health problems as well as gauge your current heart health.

In most cases, a high RHR could be a sign of an increased risk of cardiac risk in some situations. In fact, research has found that a RHR near the top of the normal range can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and even early death.

For example, a 2013 study tracked about 3,000 men for 16 years and found that a high RHR was linked with lower physical fitness and higher blood pressure, body weight, and levels of circulating blood fats. Specifically, an RHR between 81 and 90 doubled the chance of death, while an RHR higher than 90 tripled it.

While a low RHR often suggests greater physical fitness, some situations can make your RHR lower than normal range and cause occasional dizziness or fatigue. This may be the result of the electrical nodes of the heart aging, or not transmitting electrical signals correctly. If this happens you should call your doctor.

Check your resting heart rate early and often

The number of RHR can be influenced by many factors, including stress and anxiety, circulating hormones, and medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure drugs. Doctors suggest to check it a few times during a day, and a few days in a week.

If you have noticed repeated high RHR close to 100, you will need to visit your doctor. But don’t worry too much, there’re ways to control the heart rate within the normal range. For most of people, it’s caused by restricted blood flow through the narrowed arteries, so the heart has to beat faster to move blood through the body. But in the long run, a faster than normal heart rate may affect the heart function negatively. By managing your cholesterol and blood pressure, diet and lifestyle, your heart will be able to function well.

Another effective and important way to lower your RHR is exercise. You should start with mild exercise, close to the low point of your target heart rate. Use the target heart rate calculator to learn about your target heart rate for exercises, and start from a rate close to the low point of the target heart rate range. You should do exercises 3-4 times every week, 30 minutes at least each time. You’ll benefit a lot from regular training.


Find the target heart rate calculator here. 

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.