What Your Resting Heart Rate Says About You
A lot of insights can be gleaned by figuring out what your resting heart rate says about you.
If you are not already aware, your resting heart rate is the number of times you heart beats per minute while you are at rest (i.e., not engaged in physical activity). There are a variety of states and conditions that can negatively influence your resting heart rate, so knowing how to measure your resting heart rate and keeping an eye on it are important — especially as you age.
Therefore, if you are interested in understanding what your resting heart rate says about you and your overall health, this piece is for you.
What Your Resting Heart Rate Says About You and Your Health
Generally speaking, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. However, if your resting heart rate sits below 60 beats per minute, this is typically indicative of physical fitness and good overall health.
However, if you purchase a heart rate monitor and find that your resting heart rate is over 100 beats per minute, there are a number of things that this could mean, including:
You Are Stressed Out
There are a lot of different signs and symptoms of too much stress, one being a high resting heart rate.
Chronic stress will keep your heart in a near-constant state of alert, thereby increasing your chance of stroke, heart attack and other forms of heart disease.
You Are Not Exercising Enough
Your heart is a muscle, which means that it needs to be exercised in order to stay strong.
Therefore, if you are out of shape, overweight or obese and generally inactive, your resting heart rate is going to be higher because your heart needs to work harder to get blood to the body’s extremities.
This is essentially the inverse of those who are fit, who, again, are likely to have a resting heart rate that is lower.
You Are Dehydrated
Your body needs water and electrolytes to stay hydrated, healthy and keep your body chemistry balanced.
However, if you are dehydrated and low in minerals such as magnesium, calcium or potassium (which are all electrolytes), this could cause problems with your resting heart rate.
Part of what electrolytes do is assist in muscle contractions, including your heartbeat. Thus, one of the symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance is an irregular heartbeat.
Your Thyroid Is Having Problems
Your thyroid produces critical hormones for controlling your metabolism. When a person develops thyroid problems, this gland begins to produce too much or too little of these hormones (called hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively), which could raise or lower your resting heart rate.
To determine if your thyroid is under- or overactive, it is necessary to see a doctor for a blood test.
You Have (or Are on Your Way to Getting) Diabetes
While professionals are unsure if a high heart rate causes — or is caused by — diabetes, the two are most certainly linked.
Typically, those who develop diabetes are those who are relatively inactive, which means they are also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease.
Therefore, if your resting heart rate is higher than it should be, it is wise to see a doctor to get tested for diabetes and take the appropriate diabetes prevention steps if you don’t already have the disease.
Learning to Listen to Your Heart
As you can see, understanding what your resting heart rate says about you is important to your overall health.
Therefore, if you want to live a longer, happier, healthier life, it is wise to pick up a quality wearable heart rate monitor, exercise regularly, stay hydrated, eat well and generally live a healthier, more active lifestyle.
However, that all starts with measuring your resting heart rate.