We’ve all had our heart rate measured at one point or another, either at the doctor’s office, during a RiPT workout or maybe you use your own heart rate monitoring device for your workouts at home. You might even have a Fitbit or Polar device that measures your heart rate throughout the day. It seems we have more insight about our bodies now more than ever, with updates in technology on the rise.

But, what exactly does your resting heart rate mean? What does that number say about your health in general and why should you pay attention to your resting heart rate? We’ll explore all of those questions today.

Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute or bpm (beats per minute). So, your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute at REST. Pretty simple, huh?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the average resting heart rate for adults typically ranges from 60-100 beats per minute. But keep in mind, a lower resting heart rate points to a heart that is functioning more efficiently and in general, greater cardiovascular fitness.

Athletes tend to have much lower resting heart rates than the average person. Professional athletes, especially endurance athletes like runners and cyclists, can have heart rates that fall into the mid-thirties! So really, a healthy resting heart rate can be anywhere from say 35 bpm all the way to 65 bpm, depending on the person.

It’s also important to mention your heart rate will be much lower while at rest than when you are climbing the stairs. The harder your heart has to work, the faster it beats. During exercise, your heart beats faster than it does at rest.

So, how can you benefit from knowing what your heart rate is? Well, the slower your heart rate is while resting, the better shape you are in. Having a higher resting heart rate can be a risk factor that points to a number of health issues such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Checking your resting heart rate is also a good idea since cardiovascular disease is one of the deadliest diseases in the U.S. for both men and women. Basically, the lower your resting heart rate is, the healthier you are (for the most part).

It’s important to note that certain things will elevate your heart rate from its resting state including: smoking, exercise, caffeine, stimulants, certain medications, stress, not being active enough as well as your weight.

The good news — since your heart is a muscle, it can be strengthened and become more efficient through the use of regular exercise (like RiPT classes).  Regular exercise can help keep your heart healthy and keep your resting heart rate at a lower number.

So, the next time you get your heart rate measured or you measure you own heart rate, pay attention to that number and see what it says about your health!