In addition to their superior cardiovascular fitness, athletes are renowned for their extraordinary physical abilities. The athlete heart rate is an indicator of their cardiovascular health, and this fact has piqued the interest of many. This article will discuss why athletes typically have a lower resting heart rate.
Why do athletes have lower heart rate?
The term ‘resting heart rate’ or lower heart rate is used to describe the number of times the heart beats in a given time period when the person is at rest and no outside factors are influencing their heart rate. An athlete’s normal heart rate is typically much lower than that of a non-athlete, ranging from 40 to 50 beats per minute. Whereas the average heart rate bpm is 60 to 100.
A number of factors connected to why athletes have low heart rate are as follows:
Larger heart size
Endurance athletes, those who train for long periods of time at a high intensity, such as those who run marathons or ride bicycles, tend to have larger hearts. Due to this, the heart can pump more blood with each beat, reducing the number of beats needed to sustain blood flow throughout the body.
Improved heart muscle function
Strength and efficiency in the heart muscles are also enhanced through endurance training. This means that each heartbeat can pump more blood, reducing the need for the heart to work harder.
Improved blood circulation
With better blood flow and less resistance in the blood vessels, the heart is able to pump blood more efficiently after a routine exercise routine.
Higher vagal tone
It has been discovered that an athlete’s heart has a higher vagal tone, which is the strength of the vagus nerve that controls the heart rate. A higher vagal tone is associated with a healthier heart. A lower resting heart rate is the direct consequence of having a higher vagal tone. For example, according to a study, endurance athletes had significantly higher vagal tone than sedentary people. So, even if athletes have a higher vagal tone because they work out often, they still need to take care of their overall health and get regular checkups to keep their hearts healthy.
Benefits of lower resting heart rate
It is beneficial for both athletes and people who do not participate in sports to have a resting heart rate that is lower than average. A lower heart rate at rest is associated with a number of health benefits, including the following:
Better cardiovascular health
A healthy cardiovascular system can be determined by having a resting heart rate that is lower than average. It lowers the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke, as well as other cardiovascular conditions.
Improved physical performance
If your heart rate is lower, it means that your heart is pumping blood more efficiently. It can also help improve your endurance as well as your overall physical performance.
Lower stress and improved mental health both link to a lower resting heart rate.
Note: Genetics can also influence athletes’ resting heart rate. Some people may be genetically predisposed to having a lower resting heart rate. This in turn may contribute to their ability to excel in endurance sports.
So, why athletes have a low heart rate is a result of their training and general good health; increased heart size and function; enhanced blood circulation; decreased stress hormones; enhanced vagal tone.
It’s important to remember that a lower heart rate does not always imply better cardiovascular health. Other factors influencing cardiovascular health include cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and overall fitness. Athletes must still maintain their overall health and have regular check-ups to ensure their heart health. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, like the one found in TrueBasics Heart Omega-3, may also provide support for heart health.