The resting heart rate is how fast your heart beats outside of any physical activity, when all your heart has to do is keep your basic body functions running. Outside of any specific ailment, a lower resting heart rate correlates very closely to a state of greater general fitness and health.
According to the American Heart Association website, “the average resting heart rate is 60-80 beats per minute, but it’s usually lower for physically fit people.” This is because, “active people often have lower heart rates because their heart muscle is in better condition.” Also, the average resting heart rate rises with age.
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The best way to think about it is to view your heart as a muscle, and the more you work it the stronger it gets. A stronger heart means more blood with each beat, and the same amount of work can be done with fewer beats. If your heart needs more beats to do the same amount of work, over time this can lead to cardiovascular disease and/or heart attacks.
A recent study of over 1.2 million people found that those who have a resting heart rate of 80 bpm are 45% more likely to die of any cause in the next 20 years compared to those with the lowest measured heart rate of 45 bpm. The researchers found that the risk of dying from any illness or health condition raises by around 9% for every 10 bpm over. The chance of suffering a fatal heart attack or stroke rises 8%.
Fitbit’s has now aggregated its own anonymous data from users of its devices to give us insights into heart health of people living in the US. And it seems that those living in Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Dakota and New York are the clear winners.
“Hawaii is definitely the clear winner, with Massachusetts over 0.8 beats per minute higher,” Fitbit said.
“Once you get to New York, the rest of the states are really close in terms of resting heart rate, essentially tied. By the end of the list, Mississippi is almost 2.7 beats per minute higher than Hawaii on average.”
Fitbit found that 50-90 beats per minutes is the typical resting heart range for adult Fitbit users. Interestingly, its data also shows that being thin doesn’t necessarily imply heart health.
“Body size usually doesn’t usually change pulse. If you’re very obese, you might see a higher resting pulse than normal, but usually not more than 100.”
Here are the states with the lowest resting heart rates:
- Hawaii: 66.031
- Massachusetts: 66.868
- South Dakota: 67.035
- New York: 67.211
- Vermont: 67.213
- Delaware: 67.218
- Utah: 67.257
- California: 67.319
- Minnesota: 67.34
- Connecticut: 67.38
And these are the states with the highest resting heart rates:
- Mississippi: 68.687
- Arkansas: 68.588
- Louisiana: 68.586
- Tennessee: 68.513
- Alabama: 68.508
- West Virginia: 68.41
- Oklahoma: 68.23
- Georgia: 68.227
- Ohio: 68.197
- Texas: 68.137
- Kentucky: 68.112
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There are various things you can do to lower your resting heart rate. The best way of doing this is to work out for at least 1 hour a day, 3 days a week. Aerobic exercise in particular is a good way to maintain a healthy resting pulse. Some other ways to lower your resting pulse include getting a full nights sleep, staying hydrated, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.