You know your heart rate skyrockets during burpees or when a “we need to talk” text pops up on your phone. But how often do you pay attention to your resting heart rate (RHR), which is your heart rate when you’re 100 percent chill?
Here’s what you need to know about this very important (hopefully) little number.
Healthy resting heart-rate 101
Here’s a little refresher: Your resting heart rate is a measurement of how many times your heart beats per minute when you’re completely at rest. (Think: When you’ve first woken up in the morning before getting out of bed.) It’s an important number because it’s a great indicator of your overall health and fitness, namely your cardiovascular health. And, unlike your score in OrangeTheory, a lower number is better.
Essentially, the lower your resting heart rate, the more efficiently your heart is working, says Dr. Scott McLean, principal research scientist at Fitbit, the fitness wearables company. “You have to pump a certain amount of blood around the body per minute,” says McLean. “If your heart is larger, stronger, and the arteries are clear and working well, you’ll pump more blood to the body during each beat, which means that, per minute, you’ll need fewer beats to make that happen,” he says.
A normal resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 bpm for most people, according to the American Heart Association. However, a lower RHR generally implies better health; well-trained athletes may even have resting heart rates as low as 40 bpm, according to the Mayo Clinic.