How and When to Take Your Resting Heart Rate
Our resting heart rate is your heart rate when you are at rest, awake but lying down, and not having immediately exerted yourself. Resting pulse rate is measured by beats per minute (bpm). This measurement is best taken first thing in the morning before you get out of bed or after at least 15 minute of quiet rest. Typical healthy resting heart rate in adults is 60–80 bpm. Note however that conditioned athletes often have resting heart rates below 60 bpm. Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong has a resting HR around 32 bpm, and it is not unusual for people doing regular aerobic exercise endurance athletes to have resting pulse rates below between 40 and bpm.
The neck or wrist is a good place to find an artery with an easily noticable to the touch pulse to take your pulse rate with your finger! Gently place 2 fingers of your other hand on your wrist or neck artery. Do not use your thumb because it has its own pulse that you may feel. Count the beats for 30 seconds, then double the result to get the number of beats per minute. You can also count for 15 second, then multiply the result by 4 to get the numner of beats per minute.
Why is it important to regular monitor your resting pulse rate? Your resting pulse rate can be a key indicator of health. See Resting Heart Rate as a Measure of Health, Fitness and Lifespan
Your breathing rhythm can have significant impact on your resting pulse rate. See Breathing Technique for Optimum Health
Here's a great video on how to take your resting heart rate:
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Articles on Pulse Rate and Blood Pressure
Adolescent Blood Pressure Predicts Progression to Hypertension in Young Adulthood, Laurie Barclay, MD, Hien T. Nghiem, MD, MedScapeCME
Anxiety Predicts Heart Disease Years Later, Lisa Nainggolan and Désirée Lie, MD, MSEd MedScapeCME
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Change Usually Requires Combinations of Cognitive Approaches, Reed Miller, Heartwire, MedScape
The Future of Aerobic Exercise Testing in Clinical Practice: Is it the Ultimate Vital Sign?, Ross Arena; Jonathan Myers; Marco Guazzi, Future Cardiology, MedScape
Pulse Measurement: How to Prepare, WebMD