3 billion beats per lifetime. That’s what to expect from a typical hardworking heart. Break it down even further to 100,000 beats per day, 4,800 times per hour or 80 beats per minute (bpm). That’s your typical heart (pulse) rate.
Thankfully, there’s no strict tally for your ticker. You certainly don’t have to count down an allocated amount of beats til your number’s up!
In reality, a ‘normal’ heart rate depends on your age and your fitness level. It varies throughout the day. But it can give you a good glimpse into how fit you are.
Heart rate is a ‘vital sign’ of your health. A healthy heart pumps just the right amount of blood, at the right time, for the right job. It’s very responsive to you. For example, it increases in response to emotions, body temperature and – of course – exercise.
Anything between 60 and 100 beats per minute is in the normal range for a resting adult heart rate. This means your heart doesn’t have to work too hard to manage everyday tasks. Higher means your heart will be working too hard. Lower means not enough blood gets to the brain, making you feel dizzy.
Fitness trackers are surprisingly accurate. However, the best way is to take your pulse. Simply place your index and third fingers between your wristbone and tendon on the thumbside of your wrist. Count the number of beats for 15 seconds then multiply by 4 to calculate beats per minute.
The lower the better (generally). Ok, a low pulse doesn’t mean you’re completely free of health issues, but it usually means your heart is very efficient and capable.
Endurance athletes can have resting heart rates as low as 40 bpm. It is possible to overdo it – too much intense exercise can cause ‘athlete’s heart’, where the heart is enlarged with a low pulse rate. But exercise remains the best route to heart health.
Exercise! Hussle often. Do it wholeheartedly (no pun intended). HIIT is the quickest route to lowering your heart rate, as it pushes the heart to its full capability. A combination of weights and cardio will do the trick.
Don’t forget your maximum heart rate during exercise – usually 220 beats per minute – decreases with age. So keep within your target heart zone for your age group, which you can find here.
Hussle to keep your heart healthy. Do it regularly and you will see the results in your heart rate.
Hi Mark, that's very interesting. Neil Armstrong clearly had a strong 'life force' and I think that keeps you going just as well as exercise. Plus, that means my low heart rate will help me live longer so I am keen to agree with him. is there any scientific evidence for what he says, I wonder?
I've been reading Neil Armstrong's biography - he DID believe that we all get a limited number of heartbeats and wouldn't waste any on needless exercise! He lived to, what, 81...? (not that I recommend this but I did find it interesting!)
I am the proud owner of a low heart rate (58 bpm) and have been like this since I was a teenager. Do some people just have lower heart rates regardless of fitness?