Monday, October 25, 2010

What Is Your Resting Heart Rate?

I’m going to talk a bit about heart rate today, more specifically resting heart rate. It’s something that we should all consider and watch on our fitness and weight loss journeys, but it’s also a number that sometimes gets pushed aside by more traditional numbers to watch, such as our weight.

 
Your resting heart rate (or RHR) basically gives you an idea of how much your heart is working to pump blood while you’re at rest.  A very strong heart pumps more blood with each beat and therefore requires fewer beats per minute. Why is this important? Well you RHR is a good indicator of your overall cardiovascular health and should be monitored.  It’s very easy to monitor and it should be done in the morning before getting out of bed. Even sitting up in bed can raise your heart rate, so check it as you are lying down.
To test your RHR place your fingers on your neck or wrist to find a pulse and while tracking beats per minute you will arrive at your resting heart rate. To avoid counting beats for an entire minute, you can count them for ten seconds and take the result times 6 for the same answer. The chart below will give you a good idea of where you are against average and where you should be:

 
A high resting heart rate can cause many symptoms, such as:
  • ·         Dizziness
  • ·         Rapid pulse
  • ·         Difficulty breathing
  • ·         Lightheadedness
  • ·         Heart Palpitations
  • ·         Chest pains
  • ·         Fainting
Do any of these feel or sound familiar? If they do, work on getting that heart rate down. How? Well by exercising and eating better of course. Now there are more things that cause a high RHR than just being unfit, but the main cause is obesity.

The main reason I am going over this today is because 7 months ago before I started my weight loss journey, I had my RHR tested and it was an awful 82. That right there my friends is a number you don’t want to see. That number can cause many many problems, including strokes and heart attacks. So you can imagine my dance for joy last week when I tested it again and it was at 58!! WOW, what a difference cutting out fast food and a little exercise can do huh?

When I tweeted that number Tara (@TidBits_Of_Tara) said “That is a life saving number my friend”, she is so right. I use to have panics attacks about my heart rate being so high. Then imagine having panic attacks about having panics attacks! Crazy I know, but it’s true. I was constantly living my life in fear of when I was going to have a heart attack. I have not had a panic attack in months. Sure I still suffer from a bit of social anxiety because of my weight, but it’s nowhere close to what I was going through just a few months ago.

Exercising and eating better has added years onto my life by helping my heart.

I still have a long way to go on my journey. There is still a lot of weight I need to take off and I still need to work on my social anxiety, but taking my RHR from a deadly 82 down to an almost athletic 58 is a major NON-SCALE victory!

Have you checked your RHR lately? If not, do it.

10 comments:

  1. I have a really difficult time finding my pulse, but I think I'm sitting at about 66 today, which isn't too shabby. There is always room for improvement! I'm hoping my new commitment to running will help bring that number down. Thanks for sharing this post! I get so focused on the scale that I tend to ignore other indicators of health.

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  2. Congrats man, that's awesome. I had my RMR checked about 2 weeks ago for the first time in months, and it was 54, I was amazed!

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  3. @Raegun - 66 is not bad :)Good luck with the running.

    @Brandon - 54! WOW That is nice man!! You athlete!! :)

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  4. This is a very important piece of info! Congrats on lowering your RHR! That's awesome vinny- Keep working hard.

    My RHR is 54 but i've seen it in the 40's before.

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  6. My RHR is between 36 and 42. I know it is extrememly low. I've seen a cardiologist, had a stress test, and had an ultrasound on my heart and as far as they can tell, all is well with it. I guess that comes with losing 125 pounds and increasing my running.

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  7. I'm obese female and my RHR is 72 so above average. Also according to Heart.org - body size doesn't matter - http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/All-About-Heart-Rate-Pulse_UCM_438850_Article.jsp#.VohBxZOLSV5

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  8. how true is this? I'm a bit sceptical. I'm 37 and have always been fit for my age and played lots of sport but I wouldn't class myself as an athlete. I only realised a few months ago that my RHR is 42 and is currently 45 (christmas obviously took it's toll!). I would say I'm probably the most unfit I've ever been after recovering from an ankle injury in Sep and because I've stopped playing football every weekend. Bit confused with it.

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  9. My resting heartbeat sadly for a year has been over 100. I was recently put on meds. Dx of heart failure. I am 40 yrs old and have 3 kids 9,8 and 6. With meds my rhr is 75 which at first was scary.

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  10. Heart is the most important part of our body and we have to do many things to maintain our heart health. Sometimes our effort works and sometimes not. If you really want to maintain your heart health eat a balance diet with plenty of high fiber foods, do some exercise and try to be happy. Actually I have found a website in which I have read about what is healthy heart rate and according to me it is very important thing to know if we want to maintain our heart health.

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