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DrSugar Answers: Is My Heart Rate Too Slow?

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear DrSugar,
I'm a fairly active 20-something female and workout 6-7 days a week. I just measured my resting heart rate, and it seems pretty low at about 44 beats per minute. I've read that pro athletes can be in the 40-50 range, but I do not consider myself on par with the pros. Should I be concerned about my heart rate or is this perfectly normal? What are the possible causes for a low heart rate?
Slow Beating Heart

To see what DrSugar has to say about this, just


In the medical world, a "normal" heart rate is defined as 60-100 beats per minute. Any heart rate below 60 is termed bradycardia, which just means slow heart rate. As you mentioned, people with superior physical fitness often have slower resting heart rates in the 40s and 50s. For young, healthy, active people this is completely normal and an indicator that you are in excellent physical condition.

There are a wide range of heart conditions that can lead to abnormally low heart rates, but they are extremely rare in young, healthy adults. These include heart attacks, cardiac conduction abnormalities, hypothermia, and certain medications just to name a few. Symptoms of low heart rate include dizziness, fainting spells, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. In the absence of these symptoms, a heart rate in the 40s most likely indicates that you are in great shape from working out 6 days a week (wow, very impressive). If you’re having any of these symptoms and have a slow rate, then talk to your doctor right away, otherwise keep up the good work.

If you have a question for DrSugar, send me a private message here and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

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AmyPhillips13358 AmyPhillips13358 3 years
So what do I do when I have a resting heartrate of 45-47, am not physically fit, have chest discomfort, chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling in feet, dizziness, shaky, climb the stairs in my home, (16 steps) and become easily winded and heartrate climbs to 136 bpm bc of that stair climb at a normal pace. How do I get someone to listen to me then? I'm a 33 yo female and they say I'm too young to worry but told me I have asthma and prescribed an inhailer and an epi pen, all without a recent PFT (which btw I've had that test too, 2 yrs ago and I don't have asthma). I'm often tired, I become worried when I feel like fainting, have palpitations, have had a pain in the left side of my neck before, same in my left arm...I'm fed up.
nycactres nycactres 8 years
Everytime I go to the doctor they say wow your heartrate is low. They then ask me if i work out. I say yes, 6-7 days a week then they say thats good. Its a good thing then because your in really good shape.
risqueredhead risqueredhead 8 years
better than my extreme tachycardia :p
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I figured it meant the heart was stronger and you were in better shape.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
My heart rate is really slow too...40-50 bpm. I actually had to do an EKG in college for my physiology class. I got to be the "example" of a bradycardia. It's not dangerous; it's actually a good thing because your heart is more efficient: you pump more blood per stroke and it doesn't have to beat so many times.
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