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Why is tracking resting heart rate important?

Your resting heart rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood you need because you’re not exercising. If you’re sitting or lying and you’re calm, relaxed and aren’t ill, your heart rate is normally between 60bpm (beats per minute) and 100bpm. As you get older, your resting heart rate tends to increase.

A lower heart rate is common for people who get a lot of physical activity or are very athletic. Active people often have a lower resting heart rate (as low as 40) because their heart muscle is in better condition and doesn’t need to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. A low or moderate amount of physical activity doesn’t usually change the resting heart rate much. 

What things affect Resting Heart Rate?

  • Air temperature: When temperatures (and the humidity) soar, the heart pumps a little more blood, so your pulse rate may increase, but usually no more than five to 10 beats a minute.

  • Emotions: If you’re stressed or anxious for a long period of time your emotions can raise your resting heart rate. 

  • Body size: Body size usually doesn’t change pulse. If you’re very obese, you might see a higher resting heart rate than normal, but usually not more than 100. 

  • Medication useMedications to treat asthma, depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder tend to increase your RHR. However, medications prescribed for hypertension and heart conditions (beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers) typically decrease your resting heart rate.

  • Sleep deprivation: A consistent lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, a lower metabolism, extra snacking and can also raise your resting heart rate.

  • Dehydration: An increase in resting heart rate could mean that you're dehydrated.  If your mouth is dry and/or you're not going to the bathroom as frequently, even if you’re not thirsty,  you could need to drink more water.  

Things to watch out for 

If you experience shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, dizziness, excessive thirst/urination and your resting heart rate has increased it might be an indicator for something more serious.  A low resting heart rate isn’t always ideal either. When combined with symptoms (like those above), it could indicate an issue with the electrical system of your heart. If you’re concerned, discuss these changes with your doctor.

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