Resting Heart Rate: What you need to know

Your resting heart rate (RHR) is how many times your heart beats in one minute while you are at complete rest. It indicates your overall heart health and fitness level. The more aerobic exercise that you do, the lower your RHR will be. As you get fitter, your heart gets stronger and each pump becomes more efficient, decreasing the number of beats per minute your heart has to make to supply the body with sufficient oxygen to work effectively.

A typical healthy resting heart rate for adults is 60 – 80 beats per minute (bpm).

It is natural, and healthy, for your heart rate to increase when under physical or psychological stress, in order to keep up with the oxygen demands of the body and the brain. It only becomes a cause for concern when it remains elevated for long periods of time, or is irregular.

When the heart beats excessively rapidly, the beats become less efficient, decreasing the blood flow to the rest of body, including to that of the heart itself. The increased heart rate also leads to an increased work and oxygen demand of the heart and can result in tissue damage. If your RHR reading is over 100bpm, it is recommended that you visit your GP.