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Lifestyle 365, Part 3: Resting Heart Rate

Your resting heart rate is one indicator for how healthy your heart is. It isn’t the only indicator, but it is a good one if considered in context with blood pressure and cholesterol. It is one of the many indicators we track with our Lifestyle 365 program and when you have a Health Risk Assessment as a Pinnacle patient.

When your resting heart rate is low this implies your heart is strong and healthy and is able to squeeze harder when it pumps. This means that more blood gets to the muscles, organs and tissues faster. It also means that the body doesn’t have to work so hard to get the used blood back to the heart and lungs.

In contrast, when your resting heart rate is high, your heart works harder to get blood back to the heart and lungs. This may be a sign of an increased risk of cardiac risk.

A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute.

Measure your heart rate

To measure your heart rate, simply check your pulse while you are resting. The American Heart Association recommends checking your heart rate first thing in the morning (before you get out of bed). Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.

When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats a minute. There are also activity trackers such as Fitbit and Garman that check your heart rate automatically while you are wearing them.

How Other Factors Affect Heart Rate

From American Heart Association:

  • 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.
  • Body position: Resting, sitting or standing, your pulse is usually the same. Sometimes as you stand for the first 15 to 20 seconds, your pulse may go up a little bit, but after a couple of minutes it should settle down. Emotions: If you’re stressed, anxious or “extraordinarily happy or sad” your emotions can raise your pulse.
  • Body size: Body size usually doesn’t change pulse. If you’re very obese, you might see a higher resting pulse than normal, but usually not more than 100.
  • Medication use: Meds that block your adrenaline (beta blockers) tend to slow your pulse, while too much thyroid medication or too high of a dosage will raise it.

Your personal fitness program with a coach

With our Lifestyle 365 program, we create a personalized fitness program just for you to help meet your goals and a wellness coaches holds you accountable with weekly check-ins, and tracks your progress with several measurements (HRA), such as Resting Heart Rate and Waist to Hip Ratio. Contact us today to setup a consultation with a wellness coach to get started with Lifestyle 365.

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