Exercise lowers resting heart rate.
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When you exercise, including running, your heart rate will increase, meaning that your pulse will become faster because your body is under physical stress. When under stress, your heart must pump more blood containing oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, which is why your pulse increases. Fortunately, regular exercise is good at training your body to react better to stresses like exercise and your resting pulse rate will actually decrease over time, which helps prevent a variety of issues like high blood pressure and heart disease.
Pulse Rate Increases During Exercise
Your pulse rate measures how many times per minute your heart contracts. This figure is lower when you're at rest and higher when you're performing a physical activity such as running or another type of aerobic exercise. That's because the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout your body's arteries to support muscle function when you're active. The harder the activity, the higher your pulse rate will be to meet the demands of your body's muscles and other tissues.
Decrease in Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is a measure of your pulse when you're not exercising or performing strenuous activity of any kind. Because you're not performing an activity and stressing your muscles, your resting heart rate is lower than your active heart rate.
When you exercise regularly, your resting heart rate decreases over time. That's because exercise strengthens your heart muscles and ensures that your heart pumps more blood each time it contracts. In this way, it won't contract as often, meaning that your heart rate or pulse goes down because your heart becomes more efficient. A normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 90 beats per minute, which can be lowered by anywhere from 10 to 20 beats per minute with regular exercise.
Monitoring Your Pulse Rate
You may want to monitor your pulse rate during exercise if your doctor has informed you that you suffer from a health condition that can affect your heart. This way, you can ensure that it doesn't get dangerously high when you exercise. Professional athletes may also want to monitor their pulse rate during exercise to optimize their workouts. Ideally, you want to achieve 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate when you exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you calculate this number by subtracting your age from 220 and multiplying that number by .50 or .70. For example, if you are 35, your maximum heart rate is 185 and you'll want to aim for a heart rate of 93 to 130 beats per minute. Note that regardless of fitness, your maximum heart rate decreases as you age, typically by about seven beats per minute.
Scientific Studies on Heart Rate
Having a high resting heart rate can mean that you're suffering from a health issue or are out of shape. One study published in the May 2018 issue of the Journal of International Cardiology found that participants with a higher resting heart rate had a higher mortality rate later in life. Several scientific studies have shown that exercise, including running, can lower your resting heart rate and improve your overall health. One such study published in the June 2015 edition of the Journal of the American Heart Association found that cardiac health, strength and efficiency was improved with regular moderate-to-rigorous exercise.