Ever thought about tracking your resting heart rate? RHR is a great way to track how your fitness level is improving. An average heart rate for a healthy person can range from 60-100 beats/min. An athlete can have a heart rate in the 40’s. In fact, Miguel Indurain, a cyclist, had a RHR of 28!
As your fitness level improves, your resting heart rate goes down. As your heart gets stronger it can pump more blood with each beat – making your heart’s stroke volume more efficient. To get an accurate assessment of your true resting heart rate take it first thing in the morning before you get out of bed for 3 mornings and take the average. There are some great apps out there that take your heart rate using teh camera button on your phone. The old fashioned way works good too – count the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiply it by 6. Do that 3 times to get the average.
Your fitness level also affects your recovery heart rate after exercise. The quicker your heart rate returns to normal the more fit you are. Start by taking your heart rate the second you finish exercising and take it again 1 and then 2 minutes after exercising. Have you ever noticed someone who has finished running and can almost immediately engage in a conversation – they are pretty fit for sure.
Use your heart rate as a motivation to increase your fitness level! The next time you exercise don’t just think about how glad you will be when it is over – think about how string your heart is getting and making you a healthier person!