Your heart beats all the time. Well, we hope it does anyways, else the you as we know it would not exist. While the presence of a heart beat indicates existence, the number of beats per minute is a very good measure of how much longer it will beat. Your heart does not beat at the same rate all the time which has also led to the term “my pulse is racing.” From meeting a loved one to watching a horror movie and obviously exercising, your heart beat can increase significantly all the way to what is known as your VO2 Max. Your resting heart rate on the other hand is the rate at which your heart beats when your body is at complete rest. When you are sleeping for example or within the first few minutes of waking up.
Your resting heart rate can be an excellent indicator of the state of your health of your heart. Your normal heart rate being 72, a resting heart rate below 60 is a indicator of excellent health. Athletes have been known to have a heart rate of 50 and buddhist monks have even shown a resting heart rate of 40. A study showed that if your resting heart rate is in the range of between 81-80 it can double the risk of death due to cardiac problems. A resting heart rate of over 90 can triple your risk of death. Therefore, watching, understanding and worrying about your heart rate is important.
Even a small amount of high intensity aerobic exercise per week has been shown to significantly reduce your resting heart rate. Another way to reduce your resting rate is to reduce your cholesterol. Cholesterol creates plaque which blocks the passage of blood and increases the rate at which your heart has to beat. You need to be cautious though. If your resting heart rate is low despite being unfit you should speak to a Doctor.
In my own case, I unfortunately did not measure my resting heart rate when I wasn’t so fit due to a lack of awareness. My current rate is 50 (see the picture on the article from my Garmin). This has happened within a few months of trying.