How can you measure your own RHR?
If you have a fitness tracker that measures heart rate, you’re sorted. If you don’t, it’s a simple procedure. “Start by lying down for five minutes to relax your heart rate to a baseline figure,” says Anthony. “Then, place your index and middle fingers into the wrist at the base of your thumb – or into the carotid artery which is around three inches down from the back of your jaw. Once you’ve found a beat, count how many beats there are for one minute using a timer. You can also count for 30 seconds and then double it, but the more time you are counting for, the more accurate your reading will be.” Anthony also recommends checking your RHR first thing in the morning, which will give a more accurate reading.
If you want to improve your RHR, what can you do?
Improving your fitness levels is a good place to start, David recommends. “The more you exercise, the stronger your heart becomes, meaning the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Focus on HIIT and general cardio – such as running – which have been shown to improve blood flow around the body. Also focus on getting good quality sleep, as it’s during the deepest stages of sleep that your heart rate slows, and blood pressure drops. Reducing stress, quitting smoking and eating foods rich in healthy fats and antioxidants can also lower blood pressure, making it easier for the heart to pump.” Just remember to factor in recovery time, says Anthony, which is equally as important. “If you are using HIIT as a means to get fit, always factor in 48-72 hours of recovery, which will improve your heart’s ability to contract and have a positive influence on your RHR.”
At what point should you speak to your GP?
“If your RHR goes from 55 to 60 bpm over the course of a few days with no symptoms, this is nothing to worry about,” says Anthony. If, however, your RHR is varying drastically, or is consistently above 100 bpm, you should consult a doctor, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms such as chest tightness, fatigue or shortness of breath.
For more information, head to OneTrack.Club and Freeletics.com. Follow Anthony on Instagram @Aka_Fletch. If you are worried about your heart health, call 111.
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.