Whether you’re a fan of heart rate training or just digging into your zones, chances are you’ve noticed your heart rate numbers on your fitness watch or fitness tracker while running. But have you ever pressed the little heart icon or looked at your beats per minute when your body is at rest? For runners,Your resting heart rate can be just as important to your workouts as it is to your overall healthbut when it’s high, you need to know the reasons because it can affect performance.
What is resting heart rate?
As the term suggests, Resting heart rate (RHR) refers to the number of heartbeats per minute when the body is at rest. You can get a fairly accurate measurement using a wearable device such as a chest strap, although they are less comfortable, they usually give more accurate results than some wrist heart rate monitors or using your fingers. to count your basal heart rate.
“It is best to take [la lectura de la frecuencia cardíaca en reposo] in the first hour of the morningafter a good night’s sleep, lying on your back with no distractions,” explains Dr. Fabio Comana, a professor in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at San Diego State University (USA), to Runner’s World. If you wear a watch, she suggests you wear it on the inside of your wrist for better adaptation to skin and soft tissue – just be careful not to move your hand (or any other part of your body) while reading.
The average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm). Although the heart rate itself can be affected by various variables, such as biological sex, stress, medications, medical problems, hormones, age, and level of regular physical activity. usually the lower the resting heart rate, the better.
“RHR is considered an indicator of overall cardiovascular fitness, or how efficiently the body’s need for oxygen can be met,” says Pamela Geisel, an exercise physiologist and director of performance and wellness services at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. “Lower RHR is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.”
However, a higher resting heart rate can be a sign of a number of health problems. For example, a 2017 meta-analysis of 87 relevant studies found “an increased risk of coronary heart disease, sudden cardiac death, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality with greater frequency Rest.”
How does exercise affect resting heart rate?
The reason runners and other athletes have lower resting heart rates compared to more sedentary people is a matter of adaptation. As physical activity increases, “the body says, ‘How can I deliver oxygen to my blood cells more efficiently?'” Comana explains.
The answer: more red blood cells and therefore more blood volume. To accommodate this increased volume of blood, the heart becomes stronger and able to pump more blood with each contraction. “If you’re able to push more blood out of the heart with each beat, the heart doesn’t have to beat as many times. So your resting heart rate goes down,” Comana says.
If exercise is reduced or exercise is stopped, the resting heart rate will rise again. “You don’t have that demand for as many red blood cells anymore,” Comana explains. Thus, as red blood cells die (they have a lifespan of about four months), the body produces fewer new ones, blood volume decreases, and the heart and its stroke volume (the amount of blood it pumps with each contraction) decrease. . “It’s like a muscle: if you don’t use it, you lose it,” Comana says.
What does it mean to have a high resting heart rate?
What happens if you follow your usual exercise program and notice that your resting heart rate is high? A single reading that is higher than normal is usually not a cause for concern.; dehydration, stimulants or even a bad night’s sleep can be some of these temporary causes. But if you see your resting heart rate increase by eight to 10 beats over the course of seven to 10 days, Comana recommends reviewing both your workouts and your life in general. You may be in a state of overtraining or not allowing your body to rest and recover properly between workouts.
On the other hand, that elevated resting heart rate may have nothing to do with exercise. “Many times what we consider overtraining may not be your program,” he says. “It could be the stress of life piling up on you, because stress is nothing more than an accumulation of all sorts of disturbances from a stable inner state.”
How can high heart rate at rest be reduced?
To your body, stress is stress; It doesn’t matter if you’re coming off an upcoming work deadline or doing consistent HIIT workouts. Problems at work, in personal relationships, and in finances obviously cannot be avoided: they must be resolved, which is inherently stressful. “But what you can do is monitor your workouts,” Comana says. “You may need to download, download, or redirect.”.
download, or Stopping exercise altogether is one of the most drastic, yet most effective, ways to lower this high resting heart rate. Have you ever noticed how that first run after a few days off can feel like one of the best of your life? “Maybe you’ve reached a point where you’ve been on the edge of overtraining, and you’ve taken some time off to let your body recover a little more to restore that stable internal state.” And then you’re back like you’ve been completely renewed,” Comana says. “Stress is usually not bad, but we need time to recover from it.”
Decompression is the process of temporarily reducing the volume and intensity of training, during the summer is one of the best times due to the high temperatures. Comana recommends reducing training intensity to 50% or 70% of normal. This means that if you run six days a week, you can give yourself a few extra rest days, and on the days you train, run at an easier or moderate pace.
Comana’s third strategy is reorientation, it simply consists of changing the routine for a new activity, preferably something you find fun or playful. “Let’s take a break from the treadmill and do something else. Let’s climb a hill. Let’s go swimming in the pool,” Comana says. “Go play so it looks like it’s something fun, not something you have to do, something that’s part of your training. That’s the idea behind it.”
Yes after adjusting your training and reducing your stress levels, you still have a high resting heart rate, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor. “An elevated heart rate response may be indicative of something bigger,” Comana says. If you implement strategies to lower your resting heart rate and it doesn’t go down, that could be a red flag that needs to be investigated further, he adds. Although an elevated resting heart rate can be associated with several conditions, this would be only one factor, so your doctor will perform a thorough examination before making a diagnosis.