Your resting heart rate, as defined by the American Heart Association (AHA), is “the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest.” When you’re in the middle of a high-intensity workout, your pulse with quicken in your chest. But Dr. Haythe says that how it sounds when you’re doing, well, nothing tells a story of your overall health.
“A person in excellent physical condition will have a low resting heart rate—50-70 BPM—and will return to baseline quickly after exercise,” she tells me. “This is because a fit heart has a larger stroke volume [or, a higher amount of blood pumped out of the heart per beat], so the number of beats necessary per minute to perfuse the body is reduced.” Heart’s with higher stroke volumes don’t have to beat as frequently to maintain a normal cardiac output.
Scientific research also emphasizes the importance of having a low resting heart rate. Studies have linked higher resting heart rates with lower physical fitness, as well as higher blood pressure and body weight. According to the cardiologist, being aware of your resting heart rate can also help you realize when something in your body isn’t quite right.
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