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What Our Resting Heart Rate Really Means

So many of us wear smartwatches now. Whether it’s a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or another brand, one of the most important measurements of these devices is our heart rate. Measuring our resting heart rate can help determine if we may have any health risks. The number of times our heartbeats while at rest, can give us a glimpse of how well our heart is functioning.

Normal resting heart rates fall between 60 and 100 beats per minute, while a heart rate over 100 can signify stress, over-consumption of caffeine, or an illness. Heartbeats lower than 50 can also be a sign of an increased health risk. However, in most cases, a lower heart rate means your heart is working more efficiently. For instance, an athlete's resting heart rate will usually be much lower than the resting heart rate of a sedentary person. In addition, heart rate ranges are also determined by age and sex (see the chart).

To measure your RHR, take your middle finger and your index finger and lay them along the thumb side of your wrist or the side of your neck. Once you find your pulse, set a timer for 30 seconds and count the number of times your pulse beats. Repeat once or twice for consistency. Make sure you are truly at rest before reading your heart rate and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns regarding your heart health.

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