Resting Heart Rate - Whats in it for me?

What I was wondering this morning:

A normal heart rate for an adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute. My, resting heart rate this morning was 54 beats per minute. Am I abnormal? Am I going to die?

My research:

Yes, we all will eventually die. But first, one of many free apps on the Iphone called Cardiio, allows you to place your thumb on the camera lens and pretty accurately give you your heart rate. There are many other apps that do this. Amazing?


Google "resting heart rate cardiovascular fitness" and you will find endless articles about the importance of exercise and heart health. Just an example, this study showed that the individuals with a high degree of cardiorespiratory fitness and a RHR (resting heart rate) of less than 60 beats/min, had the lowest degree of mortality. A lower resting heart rate has been linked to greater survival rate and lower susceptibility to chronic diseases.

How a low resting heart rate benefits your heart?:

The link between physical activity, lower resting heart rates, and decreased cardivascular disease can be traced back to the anatomical mechanisms of the body. According to the study, "any amount of physical activity above the baseline level leads to increases in blood flow, which increases the vasodilatory capacity of the arteries and further improves vascular tone and anti-atherosclerotic activity, leading to reduced inflammation and reduced risk for coronary artery disease (37)". Simply put, the hose that your heart pumps blood through gets bigger and makes it resistant to blockage. Hypothetically, if you expand the freeway, more cars get through (except the 405 in Los Angeles). The article indicates that other studies have demonstrated an "increased production of nitric oxide NO (37) and heat shock proteins (HSP) (38), leading to increased breakdown of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reducing oxidative damage". This I will get to in later articles. In summary, all these mechanisms are related to CRF and hence could lead to a reduction in RHR, which may lead to reduced all-cause and CVD mortality.


Get up and start moving around.