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What’s Considered a Healthy Resting Heart Rate? Here’s the Number to Aim For

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Did you know something as simple as your heartbeat could predict your risk of heart disease? 

Your resting heart rate, the number of times your heart beats per minute at rest, is a powerful indicator of your overall health.  

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Studies show that a higher resting heart rate significantly increases your chances of cardiovascular problems.  

But the good news is, there’s something you can do about it.  By making simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to lower your heart rate and improve your long-term health.

Key Findings on Resting Heart Rate

Studies demonstrate a strong link between lower resting heart rates and improved survival across various cardiovascular conditions. 

This highlights its value as both a health metric and a potential therapeutic target. 

Researchers found that those with a heart rate above 70 beats per minute increase their risk of heart disease by 78 percent.  

Understanding the Research: Resting Heart Rate as a Telltale Sign

It’s not just about one study. Large-scale research from around the world consistently demonstrates that resting heart rate is a powerful and independent predictor of mortality. 

This means that even when factors like age, blood pressure, and cholesterol are accounted for, your resting heart rate still reveals significant information about your health risks.

This consistent finding across diverse populations – regardless of gender, ethnicity, or geographical location – highlights the universal importance of this simple but revealing health metric.

How a Fast Heartbeat Harms Your Health

A high resting heart rate isn’t just a sign of something wrong – it might actively contribute to heart problems. Here’s how:

  • Clogged Arteries: A racing heart can worsen the buildup of plaque in your arteries, the pathways that carry blood to your heart.
  • Oxygen Starvation: Your heart needs oxygen-rich blood to function. A fast heartbeat means less time for oxygen delivery between beats, potentially straining your heart.
  • Electrical Chaos: A high heart rate can increase the risk of irregular and dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to serious complications.

The good news is that lowering your heart rate may help reverse some of these harmful processes.

What to Do If You Have a Higher Resting Heart Rate

If your heart rate is higher, don’t panic. First, the percent increase is relative to those with lower heart rates (it doesn’t mean you’re 78 percent likely to have heart disease). 

More importantly, you can start making immediate improvements. You can lower your heart rate through exercise, losing body fat, less stress, better sleep, and cutting out tobacco and alcohol. Research suggests you can see changes in as little as two weeks.

Here’s how:

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can naturally lower your resting heart rate. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Stress Management: Chronic stress can elevate heart rate. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
  • Healthy Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with limited salt and unhealthy fats can improve heart health overall.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces strain on your heart.
  • Medication: In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe medications specifically designed to lower heart rate, especially if lifestyle changes alone are insufficient.

Important Note: It’s crucial to address the underlying causes of a higher resting heart rate. Do not attempt to self-treat without consulting your doctor.


Resting heart rate is a vital sign with significant prognostic value. 

The growing body of research demands a change in how we view and use heart rate in cardiovascular care.  

Clinicians should routinely measure and track resting heart rate as part of cardiovascular risk assessment. Additionally, patients should be encouraged to monitor their heart rate, empowering them to take an active role in their health.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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