- What Affects It?
- Ways To Measure
- How to Lower Heart Rate
- Good Heart Rate for Elderly
- Dangerous Heart Rate Levels
- Low Heart Rate in Elderly
- High Heart Rate in Elderly
A resting heart rate of 50 beats per minute (bpm) is good for you only if you are an athlete. If you are not feeling dizzy or ill, a resting heart rate of 50 to 59 bpm is a good indicator that your heart is functioning quite well.
What resting heart rate is too low?
What’s considered too slow of a resting heart rate depends on your age and physical condition; however, a slow heart rate, known as bradycardia, is generally considered to be fewer than 60 beats per minute (BPM).
Below is a breakdown of the normal heart rate range for regular people and athletes:
- 60 to 100 bpm: The normal resting heart rate (or pulse rate).
- 50 to 59 bpm: A good indicator that your heart is functioning normally if you are not feeling dizzy or ill.
- 40 to 50 bpm: The normal resting heart rate for athletes, otherwise it is considered low.
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
- Hypertension (medications such as beta-blockers reduce your heart rate)
- Cough and cold (medicines containing phenyl ephedrine increase your heart rate)
- 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:
- Problems with your thyroid
- Hypothyroidism (decreased heart rate)
- Hyperthyroidism (increased heart rate)
- Arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm)
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.
|Age||Target HR Zone 50-85%||Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%|
|20 years||100-170 beats per minute (bpm)||200 bpm|
|30 years||95-162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35 years||93-157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40 years||90-153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45 years||88-149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50 years||85-145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55 years||83-140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60 years||80-136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65 years||78-132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70 years||75-128 bpm||150 bpm|
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What is a good resting heart rate for a 70-year-old woman?
Resting heart rate is usually the number of times the heart beats per minute (bpm) while you are at rest, either sitting or lying down.
According to American Heart Association (AHA), the resting heart rate of a 70-year-old woman is between 60 and 100 bpm where the average RHR is 73 bpm.
At what rate is a resting heart rate considered dangerous?
A lower resting heart rate (RHR) usually indicates that your heart is performing more efficiently and is in better shape.
- You can have an RHR of 40 if you are physically fit, were an athlete, or are on a medication called beta-blockers. However, a low RHR of 50 bpm or less may potentially be a warning sign.
- This is especially true if you have symptoms, such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or fainting. This could be a symptom of issues with the electrical pathways in the heart.
An RHR greater than 100 may indicate an infection, heart arrhythmia, or a deteriorating heart condition. Studies have linked a raised RHR to an increased chance of dying prematurely.
What are the causes of low heart rate in the elderly?
A low heart rate, often called bradycardia, can lead to serious health complications. Fainting, dizziness, weariness, shortness of breath, chest aches, and memory issues are some of the symptoms.
A comprehensive medical evaluation should be performed to discover the cause of your low heart rate, but here is a brief look at what causes low heart rate in the elderly.
- Heart attack
- Heart block
- Complications of a heart surgery
- Hypothyroidism (hypoactive thyroid gland)
- Abnormal heart rhythms due to medications
- Damage to the atrioventricular (AV) node in the heart, which is responsible for cardiac impulses for a study heartbeat
- Imbalances in the electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium
- Congestive cardiomyopathy (cardiac muscle defect, leading to an abnormality in the pumping of blood)
- Sick sinus syndrome (inability of the sinus node to generate impulses for a steady heart rate)
- Inflammatory diseases of the heart
You can cure bradycardia by exercising, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, quitting smoking and drinking, managing stress, and using other heart disease medications. Consult your doctor about the best course of action to follow.
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What are the causes of high heart rate in the elderly?
It is natural to have a faster heart rate when engaging in physically demanding activities, but if your heart rate is greater than 100 beats per minute while resting, you have tachycardia.
If left untreated, this can lead to potentially fatal complications, such as heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, and death.
The reason for tachycardia is not usually known, but here are a few possibilities.
- Changes in blood pressure in old age with posture
- Exercise-induced tachycardia
- Medication-induced tachycardia due to postural hypotension (prostate medications and blood pressure medications)
- Anemia (low red blood cells)
- Intake of excess alcohol or caffeinated beverages
- A sudden increase in stress
- Hyperthyroidism (hyperstimulation of thyroid gland)
- Imbalance in the electrolytes of the body
Tachycardia can be treated with drugs for underlying conditions, surgery, or the insertion of a cardioverter or pacemaker. If you have any concerns, always consult your doctor.
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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
Gholipour B, Lanese N. What is a normal heart rate? Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/42081-normal-heart-rate.html
Kumar K. What Is a Good Resting Heart Rate by Age? MedicineNet. https://www.medicinenet.com/what_is_a_good_resting_heart_rate_by_age/article.htm
Shaikh J. What Is a Good Heart Rate for My Age? MedicineNet. https://www.medicinenet.com/what_is_a_good_heart_rate_for_my_age/article.htm
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