How Can I Maintain a Normal Resting Heart Rate?
Most of the time, you’re probably unaware of your heart’s activity—nearly 100,000 beats per day, or about 37 million beats per year. But have you ever been startled out of a sound sleep? Your heart is pumping so wildly you can actually feel it through your pajamas?
That’s not a good time to take your heart rate. A good time to measure your heart rate is when you’ve been at rest. And take the measurement at your wrist not your neck. Remember to not use your thumb as it has a pulse of its own. To find your resting heart rate, press the index and middle fingers over the underside of the opposite wrist, just below the thumb. Press down gently until you feel your pulse. Count the beats for 15 seconds and then multiply by 4 for the total number of beats per minute.
A normal resting heart rate can vary from as low as 40 beats per minute (bpm) to as high as 100 bpm. But for women, we have an average of 75 bpm. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness.
Some people assume that if their heart rate is normal, their blood pressure must be normal too. Don’t make that mistake. Heart rate and blood pressure are not the same. The only way to know your blood pressure is to measure it with a blood pressure cuff.
A resting heart rate higher than 80 beats per minute can be associated with a greater risk of becoming obese or developing heart disease later. Diabetes and obesity are both risky for the heart.
Stress can spike your resting heart rate, sometimes to beat more than 100 times per minute. Smoking or drinking a lot of caffeine can also do it. As well as dehydration, fever, anemia, and thyroid disease.
To improve your heart rate you can quit smoking, reduce caffeine intake, and drink enough water.
The heart is a muscle, and, like all muscles, it grows stronger with exercise. The stronger it is, the more efficient it is, taking fewer beats to pump blood throughout the body.