Why Do Athletes Have a Lower Resting Heart Rate

Why Do Athletes Have a Lower Resting Heart Rate?

Athletes have a significantly lower resting heart rate compared to that of inactive individuals. Resting heart rate (RHR) is typically measured in beats per minute and is the number of times the heart beats in one minute. This article will assess why athletes have a lower resting heart rate than non-athletes.
In this article we discuss why Athletes have a significantly lower resting heart rate than normal people.


What is Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate (RHR) is a vital measurement of your heart’s health and a great tool for tracking your fitness level over time. An average resting heart rate is 30-100 beats per minute (bpm) and can change depending on factors such as your sleep, activity level and emotional state. An abnormally high or low resting heart rate can be a sign of health issues and if you notice any changes you should speak to your healthcare provider. It’s important to know how to measure it correctly and keep track of your RHR on a regular basis.

To measure your RHR, start by finding a comfortable place to relax and sit still. Make sure to take a few deep breaths – this will help to slow down your heart rate and maintain an even rhythm. Place the tips of your index and middle finger over the inner wrist or side of your neck and count the beats you feel for fifteen seconds, then double this number to get your bpm.

If it’s difficult to feel the heart beats initially, try pressing lightly or massaging the area gently to release tension. Another option is to use a heart rate monitor, which measures the beats with a sensor and provides a more accurate result. It’s important to take multiple readings to ensure an accurate result and also to maintain consistency – it’s best to take your RHR in the same place, at the same time of the day and when you are completely relaxed.

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If your RHR is consistently too high or too low, speak to your healthcare provider to get a better idea of what’s going on. Tracking your RHR over time can help you identify any health issues, discover any potential triggers (such as stress or lack of sleep) and measure your progress as you take steps to improve your overall health and wellbeing.


Why Does Your Resting Heart Rate Change?

So why does your resting heart rate change? The answer lies in how your body works to maintain a steady and healthy cardiac output, or the amount of blood the heart pumps each minute. When you’re not active, your body conserves energy and restricts blood flow to areas that don’t require it, such as your arms and legs. This leads to a decrease in demand on your heart, causing it to beat slower while at rest.

There are also certain conditions and medications that can make your resting heart rate rise, as well. Anemia, infections, active thyroid issues, and certain medicines can all speed up your pulse. If you take any type of medication, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes in order to avoid any potential negative side effects.

Stress can also increase your resting heart rate. During times of stress or anxiety, your body releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which lead to increased heart rate as part of the “fight or flight” response. This helps your body to respond quickly to situations that require immediate attention.

Age is also a factor that can affect your resting heart rate. As you get older, your heart rate decreases due to a gradual change in blood pressure. A decrease in blood pressure requires the heart to beat more slowly in order to maintain a steady rate of cardiac output. While this decrease is normal during aging, an unusually low resting heart rate can also be an indication of certain illnesses such as arrhythmias, which require medical attention.

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Finally, dehydration can impact the body’s ability to regulate its resting heart rate. If you’re not drinking enough water, your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood throughout your body, causing an increase in heart rate. This is why it’s so important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Understanding why your resting heart rate changes is important for determining whether or not it’s an indication of an underlying problem. If your heart rate significantly increases or decreases, it’s best to check with your doctor in order to pinpoint the exact cause. They’ll be able to determine if you need any further treatment in order to rectify the issue.


The Resting Heart Rate of an Athlete

The resting heart rate of athletes is typically about 40 beats per minute or lower, although it can vary depending on the level of fitness. This is significantly lower than the average person, which is usually about 70 beats per minute. It is important to note that the resting heart rate is not the same as the maximum heart rate – the maximum heart rate can be calculated based on the individual’s age and is the highest number of beats per minute that the heart can reach during exercise.

Aerobic Exercise

The main difference between athletes and non-athletes is the amount of aerobic exercise they do. Aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that causes the heart rate to increase and makes a person breathe more heavily. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like jogging or riding a bike, each week, in order to improve their overall health.

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The higher the intensity of the exercise, the more the heart has to work, causing it to beat faster. Over time, the heart becomes more efficient and is able to beat faster for the same amount of effort. This means that a person can sustain a higher level of activity for a longer period of time without tiring, which leads to a lower resting heart rate.

Strength Training

Strength training is also an important part of an athlete’s physical fitness routine and is beneficial for lowering the resting heart rate. Strength training can help increase the size and strength of muscle fibers, which can increase stroke volume (the amount of blood the heart can pump in one beat). Additionally, the more efficient an athlete’s muscles become, the less energy is required to move and contract them, increasing the efficiency of the heart.

Adrenal Gland Function

The adrenal gland is responsible for releasing hormones like adrenaline, which can affect the resting heart rate. When a person exercises, their body releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate. Over time, the body becomes more used to this release of adrenaline, resulting in a lower resting heart rate. Additionally, athletes have a better ability to control their emotional state, which means that their bodies don’t react as strongly to stress and, therefore, their resting heart rate is lower.



In conclusion, athletes have a significantly lower resting heart rate compared to that of inactive individuals. This is because they are used to higher levels of activity and their bodies become more efficient and require less energy to move and contract, which leads to a lower resting heart rate. Additionally, they are able to control their emotional state better, which prevents their bodies from releasing too much adrenaline and causing an increased heart rate.

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