The normal resting heart rate (or pulse rate) ranges from 60 to 100 bpm.
The normal resting heart rate (or pulse rate) ranges from 60 to 100 bpm.

A resting heart rate of 50 beats per minute (bpm) is good for you if you are an athlete or a medical practitioner. If you are not feeling dizzy or ill, a resting heart rate of 50 is a good indicator that your heart is functioning quite well.

The normal resting heart rate (or pulse rate) ranges from 60 to 100 bpm. However, athletes have their heart rate as low as 40-50 bpm, which is normal for them.

Current research says that people with a lower resting heart rate have lower chances of heart attacks, and they tend to live longer lives than those who have a heart rate toward the higher side of the range. Having a lower resting heart rate means that your heart works less at rest to pump blood to the whole body and hence can work efficiently for years.

What things can affect your resting heart rate?

A resting heart rate depends upon various factors such as your age, habits (diet and addiction), and the type of physical work you do. Older people generally have a lower resting heart rate (generally below 70 beats per minute [bpm]).

Factors that affect your heart rate temporarily (increase or decrease your heart rate by a few to several beats) are as follows:

  • Cold weather (heart rate increases)
  • Body position (heart rate becomes low after you lie down)
  • Body size (obese people have higher heart rates)
  • Caffeinated drinks such as coffee (increase your heart rate for a few hours)
  • Smoking (heart rate increases)
  • Emotions such as anxiety and fear (heart rate becomes high) 
  • Certain medications such as for 
  • Exercise (heart rate can stay increased till one hour after the activity)

Variations during the day (due to hormonal fluctuations)

Health issues that affect your resting heart rate:

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Which is the best way to measure your resting heart rate?

You can measure your heart rate manually, and the procedure is very simple. The most convenient place to measure it is on your wrist. First, you have to locate the pulse or beat by pressing the side of your wrist below the thumb. Press gently on that place for exactly 30 seconds and double the beats. This gives you your heart rate in beats per minute (bpm). If you feel your beat is a bit irregular, count it till 60 seconds.

The best time to measure your resting heart rate is as soon as you get up in the morning, preferably after a good night’s sleep.

How to achieve a heart-healthy lower heart rate?

Exercising is the best way to get a heart-healthy lower heart rate. Increased cholesterol levels can also increase your heart rate, and exercise can also help lower them. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise spread throughout the week. 

There is another value known as the target heart rate that gives you an idea about how intensely you should exercise. It is recommended to exercise in your target heart rate zone, which is typically a range, expressed as a percentage of your maximum heart rate. Here is how you can calculate your maximum heart rate.

Subtract your age from the number 220, and you get your maximum heart rate. For example, if your age is 40 years, your maximum heart rate is 220 minus 40, which equals 180 beats per minute (bpm). The American Heart Association recommends exercising till you get your heart rate to 50% of your maximum heart rate. You can gradually build up till you exercise at 85% of your maximum heart rate. Therefore, at 40 years, if you want to get maximum benefits from your exercise, you should aim to exercise at 50-85% of your maximum heart rate of 180 bpm and that equals 90-153 bpm. You can consult a fitness expert to know what types of exercises are most appropriate for you. See below the maximum and target heart rate chart.

With gadgets such as fitness trackers or bands, it has become much easier to know the heart rate during the workouts than halting in between to calculate the heart rate manually.

Maximum and Target Heart Rate Chart
AgeTarget HR Zone 50-85%Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
20 years100-170 beats per minute (bpm)200 bpm
30 years95-162 bpm190 bpm
35 years93-157 bpm185 bpm
40 years90-153 bpm180 bpm
45 years88-149 bpm175 bpm
50 years85-145 bpm170 bpm
55 years83-140 bpm165 bpm
60 years80-136 bpm160 bpm
65 years78-132 bpm155 bpm
70 years75-128 bpm150 bpm

Source: www.heart.org

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Medically Reviewed on 11/16/2020
References
Your resting heart rate can reflect your current — and future — health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/resting-heart-rate-can-reflect-current-future-health-201606179806

What's a normal resting heart rate? Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/heart-rate/faq-20057979

Target Heart Rates Chart. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates

American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults