When it comes to heart health, the resting heart rate (RHR) doesn’t get as much attention as the pulse rate (the number of times your heart beats in one minute). RHR is an important indicator of overall heart health and fitness level, and can alert a person of potential health issues.
In celebration of World Heart Day on September 29, wearable fitness company Fitbit shines a light on RHR and the four important things it can tell an individual.
You are not active enough
A normal resting heart rate for the average adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm) or 40 to 60 bpm for highly conditioned athletes. An inactive person’s RHR likely approaches or exceeds the top end of this range, which may be because their heart is less efficient or pumping more.
Based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, an individual needs to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity activity each week to maintain a normal RHR.
Fitbit recently introduced Active Zone Minutes, an algorithm that uses the company’s 24/7 PurePulse heart rate tracking to calculate “Active Zone,” or target heart rates during exercise, personalized to the users based on their RHR and age.
In tropical countries like the Philippines, there may be a temporary increase in RHR, which experts said could either mean that the body is trying to cool down or that the person is dehydrated.
To lower the RHR, the classic recommendation is to drink eight glasses of eight fluid ounces of water per day. Health experts recommend a significantly higher daily benchmark, with 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men, which translates to 11 to 15 cups of water.
Chronic sleep deprivation may greatly affect one’s heart health, as studies by the Sleep Foundation have shown that people who do not get enough sleep are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease. To help lower RHR, Fitbit recommends aiming for at least seven hours of sleep each night.
The multi-day battery life enables Fitbit devices to provide advanced sleep tracking with Sleep Stages to measure deep, light, and REM sleep. Users also see a Sleep Score each morning to help gauge their sleep quality.
You’re too stressed
Prolonged mental and emotional stress can also increase RHR over time. The physical strain from stress can contribute to a variety of health problems if unmanaged, like an increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, or depression.
The newly introduced Fitbit Sense (P19,490) comes with an on-device electrodermal activity sensor to help wearers understand their body’s response to stressors. The new Stress Management Score helps them understand how their heart rate, sleep, and activity levels impact their psychological and physiological stress and overall health.
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