Resting Heart Rate and mortality

Men with a resting hearth rate (RHR) of over 75 beats per minute at 50 years of age have twice as high risk of all-cause death, cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease during 21 years of follow-up compared with men with RHR of 55 beats per minute or below[1]Impact of changes in heart rate with age on all-cause death and cardiovascular events in 50-year-old men from the general population.

The pattern for women is the same, albeit that the RHR figures are slightly higher.

Resting heart rate is a person’s pulse rate while at rest, but importantly, NOT asleep. This is relevant as many wearable devices (including top to the range Garmin devices) report RHR as being the pulse rate while asleep. In 2020, Apple quietly corrected their algorithm to report RHR from during sleep to while awake.

RHR varies from one day to the next, and is a reliable indicator of a person’s state of health. You can observe this in the inverse correlation between your HRV RMSSD and your RHR, when taking your daily HRV readings.

RHR increases with age, and the most effective way to reverse the trend is a healthy lifestyle, including regular light exercise, good sleep, improved diet and lower stress levels, 

Reducing RHR is a long term project and, especially for people who do not exercise regularly, should be undertaken under the guidance of a medical professional. 

Read more:

Impact of changes in heart rate with age on all-cause death and cardiovascular events in 50-year-old men from the general population

Resting heart rate predicts incident myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, ischaemic stroke and death in the general population: the Tromsø Study

Effect of Resting Heart Rate on All-Cause Mortality and Cardiovascular Events According to Age