Your normal resting heart rate may be anywhere between 40 and 100 beats each minute. This rate may vary, according to your level of fitness and your age, among other factors. If your body is fitter, you will usually have a lower resting heart rate, as exemplified in the resting heart rate chart below.
When you exercise, your heart becomes larger and stronger, and it also becomes more efficient in the job of pumping blood throughout your body. Since more blood is pumped with every beat of a healthy heart, your body requires fewer beats per minute.
The heart is located behind and a bit to the left of the breastbone. It uses an extensive artery and vein network to pump blood and supply it to all your organs. Each time your heart takes a beat, artery walls move, too. This is your pulse, and you can check it by touching one of your arteries, like the one on your wrist, which is the radial pulse.
The carotid artery, found on the side of your neck, is an even easier place to check your heart rate. You can use your beats per minute and the resting heart rate chart below to confirm whether your personal heart rate falls within a normal range for your age and fitness level. Read on to learn more about resting heart rate statistics.
A Detailed Resting Heart Rate Chart
A lower heart rate – but not too low – creates a more efficient functioning of the heart. It will also make you more fit, in a cardiovascular way. An athlete may have as low a resting heart rate as 40 beats a minute.
The chart of resting heart rates below will allow you to check and see where you measure, as well as the heart rates of different ages of people with different levels of activity.
Measuring your own Resting Heart Rate
Using the resting heart rate chart is important. Otherwise, you will not be able to properly calculate and track your own heart rate. If you are trying to eat healthier and exercise more to improve your heart function, you need to know where your resting heart rate is right now.
It’s best to check resting heart rate when you first get up each morning. Place your index and third fingers on your carotid artery, on the side of your neck. Be sure you don’t use your thumb to measure your pulse, since it has a pulse of its own.
Once you feel the pulse in your carotid artery, count the beats for exactly 15 seconds. Then multiply that number by four to get your resting beats per minute.
Keep in mind that there are a plethora of factors that affect your heart rate. They include your age, weight, medications, body position, emotions, body size, activity level, fitness level and even air temperature. Consider all those factors when you measure your heart rate and compare it to a resting heart rate chart.
Developing a Healthier Resting Heart Rate
Studies have shown that you may face an earlier death if you have a higher resting heart rate. Your heart has to work much harder to pump blood throughout your body if your pulse rate is faster. The problem here is that many people who do have a higher resting heart rate don’t even know it. Here are a number of steps you can take to build a healthy resting heart rate.
- Reduce Stress
Stress may make your resting heart rate higher than it would otherwise be. It also may increase inflammation in the body, which leads to other health problems. Use relaxation exercises and proper breathing techniques to keep your stress level lower. Yoga is often quite helpful, as well. This will help your heart rate to fall more properly within the normal range on a resting heart rate chart.
- Increase your Exercise Regimen – Gradually
It seems like exercise would increase your heart rate, and for the time that you are actually exercising, this is true. But this is different than resting heart rate. As you exercise, you are stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers your beats per minute, which in the longer term will lower the resting heart rate.
The best exercises to strengthen the heart muscles include resistance exercises, aerobic exercise and interval trainings. Running, biking, jogging and swimming work especially well in lowering your resting heart rate. Chart yours on the graph above after you have exercised for a period of weeks or months, and you’ll be more pleased with where you stand.
- Maintain a Healthier Weight
If you’re obese, you need to reduce your body weight. Obesity makes it more difficult for your heart to properly supply nutrients, oxygen and blood to your entire body. When you lose weight, your heart can relax a bit and pump blood at a rate that is slower. This in turn lowers your resting heart rate, too.
- Avoid Smoking or Chewing Tobacco
Tobacco use and smoking affect your resting heart rate. That’s why it’s so important to stop smoking, if you want to lower your rate. Lower your use of tobacco to help in developing a healthier heart rate.
- Plan to Sleep Well and Follow Through
If you don’t sleep well at night, you’ll end up with more than one health problem, including a higher resting heart rate. To make sure you can sleep well, eliminate all distractions from the bedroom.
Noises, especially loud noises, will interfere with your proper sleep, and can awaken you during the night. If this happens, your heart rate can increase by 10 to 15 beats per minute.
Loud music, dogs barking or other interruptions that wake you up will cause your heart rate to increase, instead of remaining low, as it should, when you’re sleeping. If you can get rid of these distractions, with noise canceling headphones, for example, you will enjoy a better night of sleep and a lower heart rate.
- Cut Down on your Intake of Caffeine
If you drink a lot of caffeine every day, your heart rate will be higher than people who don’t drink beverages that contain caffeine. Calculate your current beats per minute on the resting heart rate chart above, and you’ll see that it may be high if you drink lots of caffeine.
Cut that intake back and you’ll notice a lower heart rate. Any caffeine more than that found in two cups of coffee per day may complicate your health. Use de-caffeinated drinks. They will help in weaning you off caffeine.