What is Resting Heart Rate?

Physicians will often use a stethoscope to determine a person's resting heart rate.
Younger people tend to have higher resting heart rates.
The resting heart rate is measured while a person is at rest.
A newborn's heart rate may be 120 beats per minute.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
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The resting heart rate is the number of times the heart beats when the body is completely at rest, and the best time to take this measurement is before rising from bed in the morning. Even getting up to take a quick trip to the bathroom may slightly elevate the heart rate levels and cause them to be not truly “resting.” Thus it may take a little planning to accurately calculate the resting heart rate. For instance, having a small wristwatch or timer by the bed so a person can check rate in the morning is a good idea.

Usually the easiest way to obtain this measurement is to take a pulse measurement at the wrist, in about the center over what is called the radial artery, or on either side of the neck at the carotid artery. The carotid artery may be easier for taking a pulse, and the person should use the index and middle finger only to feel the beat of the artery. Don’t use the thumb, as this has its own faint pulse and can mess up the count.

For the accurate heart rate, people count the pulse beats for one minute, but most people will get a fairly good measure of the resting heart rate by counting the pulse for fifteen seconds and multiplying this number by four. Note that the rate could have slight deviations each day, but it should remain within certain levels.

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The average resting heart rate for adult men is about 70 beats per minute (bpm). In women, average is slightly higher at 75 bpm. Standard deviation suggests that in most adults, anything between 60-80 bpm is considered normal during rest, and some people who are athletes have an even lower rate at rest because their hearts beat more efficiently. If the rate falls outside this average, it may be of no concern, but it’s a good idea to mention it to a physician. Infants and older kids have much higher rates than do adults. A newborn’s heart may beat 120 times per minute, and older kids can have rates that still exceed 100 bpm.

One of the main reasons that people need to calculate the resting heart rate is because it part of the calculations that can determine target heart rate during cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. Of course, it isn’t always necessary to follow a formula and if people have not exercised regularly or have heart conditions they should speak to physicians first about safe target rates. For the average person in good health, the target rate is about 50-85% of maximum rate, and maximum rate can be quickly determined by subtracting age from the number 220, so resting rate may never be needed.

In most cases people really don’t need to take a resting heart rate, though this may be something done in doctor’s offices. It’s also part of “vitals” examinations in hospitals. However, if a person suspects any problems with the heart, calculating a few days of the resting rate, since it is best done before a person gets out of bed, will provide good information for a doctor. Some people with known heart or blood pressure conditions may also be asked by their physicians to monitor this rate from time to time.

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GreenWeaver
Post 2

Mutsy- Also anxiety does affect your resting heart rate. The anxiety resting heart rate makes the heart beat above the norms when there is no activity.

However, if you find any abnormalities with the rhythm of your heartbeat, you should see a cardiologist so that he could perform an echo to determine if you have any form of heart disease.

You also may want to jot down when you experience the rapid heartbeat to see if the reasoning is conclusive with anxiety or some other heart related condition. The average resting heart rate for a healthy person should be no more than 80 beats per minute.

mutsy
Post 1

The resting heart rate calculation is really how many times your heart beats in a minute. The resting heart rate range from 70 to 80 is about average with men having slightly lower target resting heart rate.

Many factors can cause this number to change. For example, people that are generally fit and athletic may actually have a lower resting heart beats per minute.

Lance Armstrong has a resting heart rate calculation of 32 beats a minute because his heart is very efficient due to his extraordinary level of physical fitness.

The resting heart rate with regards to age is also a factor. The older you are the harder your heart has to work so it beats more per minute than someone younger.

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