Resting Heart Rate
A person’s resting heart rate is a good indication of his or her physical health; an active person who participates in regular exercise will generally have a lower resting heart rate than a person who is sedentary. A normal resting heart rate is approximately in the range of 60 to 80 beats per minute – with a very athletic person registering 40 to 60 beats per minute. If a typical resting heart rate is over 100 beats per minute, a doctor should be consulted for advice. During sleep, a person’s heart rate may be as low as 40 to 50 beats per minute.
Abnormal Resting Heart Rates
There are other reasons for a high or low heart rate, including the body’s need for oxygen, anxiety, sleep and illness. A heart rate that is abnormal can also be an indication of disease. A heart rate that is too fast is called Tachycardia, and it generally refers to a resting heart rate over 100 beats per minute. A slow heart rate is called Bradycardia, and it generally refers to a resting heart rate that is below 60 beats per minute.
Improving the Resting Heart Rate
Improving the resting heart rate can be done with exercise. Interval training allows a heart to work at a high rate of capacity for a short time followed by a return to a resting rate which builds strength. Anyone returning to exercise should first consult with his or her doctor, and he or she should start exercise slowly to gradually build strength over time. Regulating a heart rate during exercise can easily be done with a variety of technology tools, including a wristband tracker or a mobile phone app. Tracking progress can help a person identify and meet goals and take control of his or her personal health.
Exercise Goals for the Heart Rate
It is generally ideal to exercise at a level where the “target heart rate” is maintained; this is a capacity of anywhere from 60 percent to 80 percent of full intensity. There are a variety of ways to calculate a target heart rate; the most common is to subtract the person’s age from 220, which is considered full intensity for a child’s heart. The percentage of the target heart rate can be calculated from the resulting number. Exercising consistently at a target heart rate can include exercise such as jogging, walking or swimming; monitoring the heart for each individual person is the only reliable method of determining the correct level of exercise to achieve the optimum heart rate.
Your Individual Health Needs
Although you can draw some conclusions about your own physical health and needs for improvement based on these simple calculations, it is important to consult with your doctor about information that is specific to your individual health needs and your resting heart rate.