How Circular tracks your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) and how to use it?
Resting Heart Rate can help you get an idea of your overall wellness and fitness, and can help you set fitness goals.
Please read our previous article about What increases and decreases Rested Heart Rate (RHR) first.
The fitter you are, generally the lower the Resting Heart Rate. This is due to the heart getting bigger and stronger with exercise, and getting more efficient at pumping blood around the body, so at rest, more blood can be pumped around with each beat, therefore fewer beats per minute are required.
Usually, the best moment to measure RHR is just after waking up but we can’t force you not to be active after waking up. So we find that the best measure is taken during the last 5 minutes of your sleep. This gives a good measure for the day of how well you are recovered. We give one average reading per day inside the “Activity analysis” circle.
Your own RHR reference
A RHR between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM) is considered normal, but 60 to 80 is optimal. Generally, a lower resting heart rate indicates more efficient heart function and greater cardiovascular health. Research has connected a higher Resting HR with a higher risk of cardiac events like stroke and heart attack.
Many factors influence what’s normal for any one person. Genetics, age, and gender have an huge impact on your reference and in determining your normal range. Those aren’t really things that you can change, but there’s are a lot of other factors that you can including your fitness level.
Circular automatically determines your reference for you. You are able to find it in the “Activity analysis” circle, by swiping to the RHR graphs. It is represented as a blue line for comparison. As your fitness levels are what can impact the most efficiently your RHR for the better, Kira is made to recommend certain activity programs or lifestyle changes for you.
In your Circular app, dive into the Activity analysis circle. On the first page is displayed, along with other metrics, your daily RHR measure. As stated previously, there is one measurement a day. We calculate a score based on the difference between your current value and your reference. Depending on the gauge color you will know at a glance if you are in your average, if it's good or bad for the day. And if you want more detail you can go to the graphs to see your reference and compare your daily value on a longer term scale.
What can be deduced from RHR
You’re not active enough
If you’re sedentary most of the day, your RHR likely approaches or exceeds the top end of the range above. This may be because your heart is less efficient. The good news? By regularly engaging in moderate to vigorous aerobic activities (brisk walking, biking, swimming), you will help your heart become more efficient at pumping blood which will lower your RHR over time. Even modest reductions in RHR can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and add years to your life!
While pushing your body can lead to great gains, it can also be detrimental. If you notice an increase in your resting heart rate when you’re going heavy on training and light on the rest, your body may be telling you that you need to scale back. By giving it the proper rest it needs, your body can repair and adapt and you may bounce back stronger than ever.
You’re too stressed
Prolonged mental and emotional stress can also cause your RHR to creep up over time. Try adding relaxation moments into your day: read, meditate, go for a walk with friends. Regular relaxation activities may help you fight your stress and that will lead to a lower RHR.
Always exhausted? Chronic sleep deprivation will raise your RHR. Aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
During a hot summer day, if you notice a temporary increase in your RHR, your body might simply be trying to cool down. However, it could also mean you’re dehydrated especially if you’re thirstier than usual, your mouth is dry, and your pee is more yellow than normal. To help lower your RHR, drink more water.
You’re developing a medical condition or getting sick
If you experience shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, dizziness, and your RHR has increased, you might be at risk for a medical condition. High RHR can be a sign that something is abnormal. However, even if you have a low RHR combined with symptoms (like those above), it could indicate an issue.
Don’t just look at the RHR, combines it with all the metrics especially HRV. If your RHR looks unusual but you don’t feel lightheaded, weak, short of breath, dizzy, then there is nothing to worry.
Resting heart rate increases with age
Unfortunately, as you get older, your RHR tends to increase. To reduce the impact that aging can have on your cardiovascular system, you can help maximize your results by exercising within your target HR zone to help lower your RHR. You can compare to other people your sex and age to get a good idea if you’re in the averages. But keep in mind that these averages may not apply to your profile (genetics too are involved!). We recommend you to stick with Circular’s recommendations.
Medication affects Resting Heart Rate
Changes in your RHR can also result from over-the-counter or prescription medications. Medications to treat asthma, depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder tend to increase your RHR. However, medications prescribed for hypertension and heart conditions (beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers) typically decrease your resting heart rate.
Circular will send you recommendations concerning your wellness if it detects something abnormal. Never forget to never just look at the numbers, but also evaluate how you feel for yourself.
The RHR is a very good tool to correlate with your HRV. If the HRV and RHR indicators are relevant together then you can consider that the value is reliable for your decisions.
Although, when thinking solely about your wellness, RHR is a great tool and the programs designed in the programs circle might help you out. Don’t forget to also follow Kira’s recommendations about your sleep schedule. You will always have a great companion by your side in your Circular app, that’ll try to do its best at helping you increasing your RHR.
We remind you that the Circular™ ring is not a medical device and should not be used to diagnose or monitor a pathology.