How to tell whether your normal resting heart rate is too high or low
Learn how you can detect the difference between a normal resting heart rate and an elevated heart rate, and use this information to determine whether you are overtrained, and adjust your weight training program or cardio training program accordingly.
Is exercise good for you?
Exercise, whether it is aerobics or weight training, is a good thing. It can have positive effects on your cardiovascular health, that is, your heart and lungs. But like anything else in life, getting too much of a good thing is bad.
Excessive exercise can overstress your system, and your normal resting heart rate can give clear evidence of whether you are overtrained or not.
The effects of exercise on your normal resting heart rate
Your heart is a muscular organ that weighs less than a pound. Its function is to provide your body with a continuous flow of blood through its powerful beats.
When you exercise, your energy expenditure increases, and this requires rapid adjustments in blood flow that affect the entire cardiovascular system, that is, your heart and lungs start to work harder to keep up with the energy demands of your body.
Regular exercise strengthens your heart – remember it is a muscle, and muscles become stronger with exercise.
A strong heart beats less often. So the greater your fitness level, the lower your heart rate will be both while exercising and while you’re resting. So the fitter you are, the lower your normal resting heart rate will be.
What can your heart tell you?
Your resting heart rate can give you an indication of two things:
- How fit you are.
- Whether you are overtrained.
A normal heart rate lies around 70-80 beats per minute (bpm). Some athletes who are extremely well conditioned may have heart rates as low as 40 beats per minute.
A normal resting heart rate, that is, your pulse you get up first thing in the morning can be anywhere between 50 and 70 beats per minute, so much lower than when you’re performing daily activities that do not require muscular or cardiovascular effort.
You can buy a heart rate monitor to monitor your heart rate at the same time each day, preferably first thing in the morning when you wake up.
If your resting heart rate is elevated (increased by 8-10 beats per minute) above your normal resting heart rate, it is an indication that you may be overtrained or overstressed, and that you should reduce your training load.
Your heart is the hidden muscle behind your body functioning. You cannot live without it. So treat it well, and exercise it gently. The more you condition it, the more efficient it will become at doing its job of pumping blood throughout your body.
Monitor your heart carefully with a heart rate monitor and adjust your training program if your heart rate is elevated too much above your normal resting heart rate. Learn to listen to your heart, because it never lies!