Are you at a peak level of fitness or just starting an exercise program? No matter, your resting heart rate can monitor your current condition and measure changes. You can track your fitness progress and overall health with this simple tool.
First thing in the morning, before you jump out of bed, take your pulse for 60 seconds. Write down the number you counted. Do this for at least 7 days. There should be a pattern in the numbers.
Generally speaking, if you are in the 60-80 beats per minute (bpm) range you are in the “normal” range. Good for you! Many athletes will be lower than 60 bpm, first thing in the morning because their resting heart beats very efficiently. I have met many “athletes” who have resting heart rates (RHR) in the low 50’s. This is normal for them.
Before you get up in the morning your body has been resting overnight. Your heart rate, at this time, should reflect a rested body, ready to take on a new day. After 7 days of measuring, if your rate is similar (within a few beats) every day, and you are also below 80 bpm, you can assume that you are getting the rest you need.
However, if one day, you wake up and your RHR is 10 beats higher or more, STOP! Take a rest. Something is going on here that is keeping your body from getting the rest it needs. This is why your heart is beating faster. Skip the training and opt for the recovery phase. Your body, via your RHR, is telling you it needs rest..
Repeat this test once a week as a general measurement or any time you are feeling tired or sick. If your heart rate is elevated your body is telling you it needs some rest. LISTEN! Take it easy.
Naturally Simple and Effective
Your Resting Heart Rate is a very effective tool in monitoring overall fitness and heart health and when you might be overdoing your training or coming down with something. Any time you can use information direct from the source, to stay in touch with your own body, take advantage of it. In addition to the convenience factor it is also free.
About the author: Stephanie Atwood is a Long Distance Running Coach, Nutrition Consultant and Certified Personal Trainer who writes and speaks about fitness and good health, focusing on women. Atwood founded the walking and running club called The WOW Team to encourage all women to include activity in their daily lives. See http://gowowteam.com and workout sites at http://meetup.com/gowowteam Contact her at Stephanie@AskAboutRunning.com
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