Heart rate is a typically measured statistic that doctors look at to get an indication of your level of health. It can be measured while active or while resting to understand different things about the ease with which your body functions. Clinically, normal heart rate from 11 to 17 ranges widely, from 60 to 100 beats per minute, or bpm. Where you fall on that scale will be due to a number of factors, including fitness. Here is a look at some of the things that affect your heart rate:
What is Resting Heart Rate? Why Does it Matter?
Resting heart rate is taken when you are at rest. This means that if your heartbeat has increased due to stress or physical activity, you have given it sufficient time to slow down again to the level it needs to sustain your body while doing as little as possible. It is typically read by feeling your pulse on your wrist or neck, and counting the beats in a minute, or within ten seconds and multiplying by 6. Heart rate is an indicator of the health of your heart and blood stream. In emergency situations like car accidents it can give you a clue as to whether you are losing blood or growing weaker. Strange results with resting heart rate can suggest stress, clogged arteries, blood clots, heart defects like murmurs and other information.
Resting Heart Rate and Fitness
The basic tenet is that the more in shape you are, the lower your heart rate should be. This can be counteracted by someone who is a high-stress individual, but in general, regular workouts lower heart rate. Athletes have naturally lower resting heart rates than non athletes, and often lower stress levels as well. This is ironic in some ways, because in mammals, larger bodies tend to have larger hearts and slower heartbeats. This, however, pertains to a fit body, and not an unfit one, as the heart does not increase in size due to added fat tissue.
Resting Heart Rate and Age
Heart rate decreases from childhood to adulthood. Though the range of 60-100bpm is for ages 11-17, it is more likely for an 11 year old to have a 100bpm heart rate, and for an older teen to show a pulse of 60. This is mostly due to the size of the heart, but again it can be linked to fitness as well.
Resting Heart Rate and Gender
Females have smaller hearts as a general rule, and faster pulses. Female teens of 16-17 of mediocre fitness levels average a resting heart rate of 78-82, while boys in the same age group are closer to 70-72.
Resting Heart Rate and Stress
Adolescence is a stressful time. Those with type-A personalities, psychological disorders that show anxiety and other external physical and emotional stress issues tend to come in higher on the heart rate chart, even when fully at rest.