The physical demands of hockey and basketball are similarly rigorous. Both sports require athletic explosiveness. Both require strong aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. As a result, basketball and hockey players usually have resting heart rates in the same general range. They tend to have lower rates than non-athletes. Stronger hearts pump more blood per beat, so they don't have to beat as fast.
Resting Heart Rate
Athletes use their resting heart rate as a baseline fitness gauge. It occurs when a person is in a relaxed state, such as right after getting out of bed. The resting heart rate for an average male ranges from 60 to 80 beats per minute. It is slightly higher for women, 70 to 90 beats per minute. Well-conditioned athletes might have resting heart rates into the 40s.
Basketball and Hockey Similarities
Basketball players often play long stretches without sitting. Elite players might not come out of games unless they accumulate too many fouls. But the crucial basketball actions -- sprinting down the court, leaping around the basket -- occur in brief intervals. Players recover during low-intensity activity and during stoppages in play. Hockey is also played in brief, explosive intervals. Players skate hard for shifts lasting from 30 to 80 seconds.
Resting Heart Rate of Basketball Players
NBA players tend to have resting heart rates closer to 60 beats per minute, according to Dr. Nick DeNubile, a long-time orthopedic consultant to the Philadelphia 76ers. Players don't want that rate to rise during the season. "When you see it start to bump up 10 beats per minute, that's one of the signs over over-training," he told the Better Health website. "Or if a player says he's getting a good night's sleep but is still feeling tired."
Resting Heart Rate of Hockey Players
High-level hockey players fall into a similar range -- and even recreational players have lower resting heart rates normal for people in their age group. A Canadian study on the cardiovascular condition of recreational hockey players noted that the average resting heart rate for its study group was 59.