First, let me start by admitting that
I have just as many superficial reasons for losing weight as the next person. I want to:
- Fit in among groups of people, rather than stand out like a very swollen sore thumb
- Look and feel more feminine
- Have confidence in my body
- Wear cute clothes
- Look good in those cute clothes
But as lovely as all of these things are, none of them compares to how I felt this morning when I took my resting heart rate. You see, I’d been meaning to take it for a while but always get up and moving before I remember to measure it. I wear a heart rate monitor when I work out, so I know my target zones. I just never really knew what my resting heart rate was. To start, let me share with you the healthy ranges for resting heart rate zone:
Because of how much I work out and eat healthful foods, I was expecting it to be in the low 60s. But it wasn’t. It was 48!
Excuse me? I have the heart rate of a well-conditioned athlete? I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. (I’m going to have to see it a few more times to truly believe it.)
So, what does this mean? Why does resting heart rate matter? Your heart rate is, to put it quite simply, an indicator of your overall health. HealthStatus.com states, “Studies are now finding that your Resting Heart Rate is an indicator of your basic fitness level and a strong predictor of cardiovascular health.” In addition,
“… a higher heart rate indicates reduced fitness of the cardiac, respiratory and nervous systems — and a possibly increased risk of diabetes.” American Diabetes Association
Do keep in mind that a lot of things can affect your heart rate, including: state of activity, fitness level, air temperature, body position, emotions, stress level, body size, medication, caffeine and environmental items. So, a one-time reading on your resting heart rate isn’t the be-all, end-all determinant of a problem. But, keeping an eye on your resting heart rate over time is a good idea. You’ll be able to recognize changes and potential areas for concern. Because everyone’s “perfect” resting heart rate is different, it’s important to pay attention to what your body is doing.
In the meantime, there are steps you can take to keep your resting heart rate in a healthy range:*
- Eat a balanced, healthful diet
- Keep stress levels under control
- Get enough sleep
I am not a doctor or specialist or expert, so please don’t just take my word for it. Here’s some more reading if you’re interested:
- Smart Health Heart Rate Watch
- Top End Sports
- American Diabetes Association
- American Heart Association
*As with anything, if you have questions or concerns, you need to talk to your doctor. Please.