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The Importance of a Lower Resting Heart Rate to Your Health

author image Eleanor McKenzie
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.
The Importance of a Lower Resting Heart Rate to Your Health
Image of group of women running on beach, only showing their legs. Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Your heart rate is another way to say the number of times your heart beats per minute. This varies between people, but knowing your heart rate, and how it tends to change during rest and exercise, helps you monitor your own health. A lower heart rate when you're at rest usually indicates a healthier heart.

Your Resting Heart

When you're at rest, and you're calm, relaxed and well, your heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute, according to the American Heart Association. Basically, your heart lowers its rate to pump the necessary amount of blood, and no more. People who exercise a lot may have a resting heart rate of around 40, although it is worth noting that inactive people who take beta blockers may also have a similarly low heart rate.

Pump It Up, Slow It Down

When you exercise regularly, your heart is strengthened. When you are at rest, the strengthened heart doesn't need to do as much work. This means it can pump oxygenated blood efficiently around your body at a lower rate. The health benefit of a lower resting heart rate is that you are at less risk of heart disease.

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