Your resting heart rate (RHR) can tell you a lot about your health. But, for many people, RHR is not included in the numbers they think about when assessing their overall wellness. While blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C are all important numbers, your resting heart rate isn’t one that should be left out, since it can tell you more than you might realize.
What Your Resting Heart Rate Says About Your Health
A healthy RHR is between 60 and 100 bpm. A higher resting heart rate can indicate that you’re not getting enough regular exercise, which ultimately will put more strain on your heart. A high RHR can also reflect poor sleep habits, high stress, and overtraining. A sudden spike in your resting heart rate may indicate that you’re dehydrated.
How You Can Improve Your Resting Heart Rate
If your RHR is higher than the normal range, then there are steps you can take to improve your resting heart rate and, ultimately, reduce your cardiovascular risks. Your first step should be establishing a workout routine that’s right for your current level of fitness. If you are not currently very active, start small with short daily walks and other low-impact activities. Ramping up physical activity too fast can put added stress on your heart and do more harm than good.
Reducing stress is another important step. Exercise will help, but you can also meditate or use breathing exercises to help you de-stress. If you feel persistently stressed and anxious, it may be helpful to see a therapist to explore solutions you can use to manage these issues.
Before starting an exercise program to manage your resting heart rate, you should talk to a doctor to discuss what type of activity is best—and safest—for you. MeMD can help you get started with convenient medical consultations over the phone, computer, or app.