Because your resting heart rate indicates how efficiently your heart pumps blood throughout your body, your pulse rate is a useful tool for gauging your fitness level. Athletes tend to have lower resting heart rates because training programs that build speed, fitness, muscle and endurance also train your heart muscles to pump a higher volume of blood with each heartbeat. Ultimately, it takes fewer heartbeats to power a well-conditioned athlete during intense training as well as during rest.
Now heart rate differs with age and gender. While the normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, conditioned athletes and other highly fit individuals might have normal resting heart rates of 40 to 60 beats per minute. This indicates a high level of cardiovascular fitness. Gender is another factor in resting heart rate norms because women at various fitness levels tend to have higher pulse rates on average than men of comparable fitness levels. For example, the average resting heart rate of an elite 30-year-old female athlete ranges from 54 to 59 beats per minute, while the resting heart rate for men of the same age and fitness level ranges from 49 to 54, according to the YMCA’s “Y’s Way to Fitness.”
But then people differ … my friend Jim and I are of comparable fitness – he is slightly younger, taller and thinner but his heart rate is way, way higher always when we ride together – yet his breathing gives no indication of a high HR like mine would at that bpm…..
EXAMPLE: Here is a stretch of road we both did recently a few days apart – same time same wattage and we are same weight.
JIM ave HR 165bpm/174bpm max
RICH ave HR 123bpm/133bpm max
As soon as Jim moves his heart rate is 150bpm but mine rarely rises as much although in anaerobic sports like 5 a side football going from still to full sprint it does sometimes hit those high peaks of 180bpm+ (my 100% max)
Although I get slightly worried about my friend’s high HR it also appears that people with a low resting HR (me) can need pacemakers later in life as the heart doesn’t function as well with age. Will need to question my cardiologist pal next time I see him.