A resting heart rate (RHR) is a great tool to measure cardiac risk. To find it, get a timer or a watch with a second hand to put by your bed before you go to sleep. As soon as you wake up (preferably without an alarm as the noise may startle you and increase your heart rate), take your index and middle finger and find the pulse in your wrist or neck and count the number of beats in 10 seconds. Multiply that number by 6 to get the number of beats per minute.
New research has found that women with a RHR of 90 or higher beats per minute are 3 times more likely to die of heart disease than women with RHR of 60 or less. The less your heart beats per minute while at rest, the stronger and more efficient it is.
If your RHR is 84 or higher steps should be taken to get it into a healthier range. Exercise is a great way to lower your RHR. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise per day at least 3 days per week. Reducing stress, losing weight (if you are carrying excess weight), and quitting smoking (if you are a smoker) are also proven ways to decrease your RHR.