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Your heart rate and your health

Did you hear the cute tale of how a couple found out they were pregnant this winter? They bought each other a FitBit for the holidays and noticed how the wife's heart rate was higher than normal, so they tried to return it. Turns out, she was pregnant!


(Anyone else obsess over the early signs of pregnancy while TTC? I definitely did!)

Anywayyy... your resting heart rate is a very important number to your health, regardless of your pregnancy.

Your RHR serves as an example of how efficiently your heart can pump blood throughout your body. The lower this number is, the more likely you are to have unclogged arteries, a strong heart, and strong lungs. It means you don't have to work as hard to deliver oxygen, nutrients, and blood to your brain and musculoskeletal system. (Many newbies to fitness notice a slight decrease if their RHR after 3 weeks of solid training.) During pregnancy, you heart rate will increase, as your body works harder to deliver blood and grow your baby.

Here's how to calculate your RHR, and things to look for:

Your most accurate RHR will be calculated before you get out of bed in the morning after a full night's sleep. Many of us have fancy watches that we can simply tap to view our RHR, but you can do this the old-fashioned way by keeping a stopwatch and recording your pulse. (Yes, you will get your RHR checked at the doctor... but after moving, eating, drinking, stress, etc, this number will likely be higher than your true RHR).

Press 2 fingers under your wrist or the inside corner of your upper neck to locate your pulse (just don't use your thumb, it has it's own HR). Once you've found your pulse, set your timer to 30 seconds. Count each beat aloud for the entire 30 seconds and double this number. I've found this is the more accurate way to calculate RHR. (If you have a heart murmur or any other cardiovascular issue you may want to count the beats for the full 60 seconds.)

The takeaway?

You may want to keep a monthly record of this number if you are training for something. Most likely this number will slightly decrease overtime with consistent training, but it can go up as well. An elevation in RHR can indicate stress, poor nutrition, and overtraining. If you notice your HR rising, scale back on workouts and try to get extra sleep!

Have a personal question? I can help. Message me and I'll get back to you within 24 hours.

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