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How to Find Your Resting Heart Rate and What Your Resting Heart Rate Means

Fitness 101: Resting Heart Rate

When it comes to matters of the heart, numbers matter. The number of times your heart beats per minute, when you are at rest, indicates the strength and efficiency of your cardiovascular system. A strong heart is able to pump more blood with every beat, so you want a low resting heart rate (RHR). A lower RHR tends to correspond with a higher aerobic fitness level. Take Olympian Michael Phelps as an example; his resting heart rate is somewhere in the 30s, which is about half the normal RHR of the average American.

Figuring out your resting heart rate is easy; you just need to be able to count and a watch with a second hand. The time of the day is important, though. You will get the most accurate reading of your resting heart rate first thing in the morning. Here's how to do the test:

  1. Find your pulse at your wrist (the radial artery) or at your carotid artery in your neck.
  2. Using your index and middle finger, count the number of beats you feel in 10 seconds. Do not use your thumb since it has a light pulse that can confuse you while counting.
  3. Multiply the number of beats you count in 10 seconds by six to find the number of beats per minute. You can take your pulse three times, then take the average rate of all three to be super scientific.

Here's what your results mean:

  • 60 or less = Good
  • 61 to 80 = Average
  • 81 to 100 = High, but acceptable
  • 101 or more = Abnormally high and not good!

The great thing about this test is that as your RHR lowers, you know you are getting more fit!

Image Source: Thinkstock
SaraNoH SaraNoH 6 years
82 :(. how "acceptable" is this really?
darkoblivion darkoblivion 8 years
mine is 48! It generally stays between 46-55 for the most part.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
mine is 63-79 and that all readings happened in 1 minute, i went to bed with my HRM on and first thing in the morning took a look at it and that's what i saw... could you ellaborate on jumping readings/heart rate in future posts? i'm sure i'm not the only one...
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Mine's 48 right now, but if I take it right after I have caffeine it's something more like 55. If you're bad at math, you can take your pulse for 6 seconds and multiply it by 10...makes the math easier, lol.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I recall a blog about this before. :)
esweet esweet 8 years
I cannot find mine! Ever!
Fitness Fitness 8 years
kscincotta, yes coffee could up your RHR. that is why it is best to check in the morning.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 8 years
I'm at 52! Do I win a prize?
ellenp1214 ellenp1214 8 years
my heart rate used to be like 70 but after becoming more active it has dropped to 48-52 range, according to my HRM. just another reason to stay active :)
TammyO TammyO 8 years
54! :DUDE:
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Hmm, mine was a little on the high side.. I think I'm ok though :P
kikidawn kikidawn 8 years
76. I could stand to be lower :) At first I was doing it wrong. I was multiplying it by 10 instead of 6 and it was majorly high! lol
shannon625 shannon625 8 years
I've got a super-low HR (mid 30s). My dad does too, so I think it's partly hereditary.
NdHebert NdHebert 8 years
60! When I exercise I normally hit 160-180.
syako syako 8 years
I can never ever find my pulse in my wrist. :shrug:
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
I'm at 75, but I'm also more than halfway through a large cup of coffee at the moment. That has to be a conflicting factor, right?
katyharper katyharper 8 years
58! Woo hoo!
syako syako 8 years
I'm at 60. Woop.
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