- Heart Rate
Average Resting Heart Rate for Women: What’s Normal & Why You Should Track It
We discuss why the normal resting heart rate for women is slightly different than for men, examine averages by age, and explore why it’s an indicator of overall physical fitness.
Your resting heart rate (RHR) is the average number of times your heart beats per minute (bpm) when your body is in a complete state of rest. RHR can be a very useful metric for measuring your fitness level and tracking your overall health. For the most part, you want your resting heart rate to be lower as opposed to higher. We’ll take a look at what is a healthy resting heart rate for women, what’s average or can be considered “normal,” and also break it down by age. Additionally, we’ll discuss how RHR is a barometer of your physical fitness, plus the best way to track it.
Normal Resting Heart Rate for Women
According to the American Heart Association, a typical resting heart heart rate for anyone is usually between 60 and 100 bpm. This number can fall closer to 40 bpm for those who are quite active and in excellent shape. Among people who wear WHOOP, the average resting heart rate for women is 58.8 bpm. Generally speaking, WHOOP members tend to be fairly physically active and interested in monitoring their overall health and well-being. So if you’re curious about what is a good resting heart rate for women, that average of 58.8 is a reasonable number to keep in mind.
Why Do Women Have Higher Heart Rates Than Men?
Surprisingly, the answer is actually quite simple. The size of women’s hearts are typically a bit smaller than men’s, in turn affecting heart rate. Each heart beat produces less blood flow, so they need to pump faster in order to achieve the same output. WHOOP data shows this translates to a difference of about 3.5 bpm on average. Learn More: What is a Good Resting Heart Rate by Age and Gender?
Female Resting Heart Rate Chart: Average BPM by Age
Normal resting heart rate for women increases slightly with age, and is also generally a few BPM higher than the average for men.
The graphic above shows the average resting heart rate of female and male WHOOP members ages 20-50. As you can clearly see, women normally have a slightly higher RHR than men do (more on that to follow). There is also usually a minor increase in RHR with age between a person’s 20s and 50s (our data shows that after age 50 it tends to level off). The normal bpm for women in their 20s is about 58, but by their 40s it’s closer to 60.
How Pregnancy Affects Heart Rate
It is normal for a women's resting heart rate to rise during pregnancy, roughly 10-20 bpm on average. The act of carrying a growing baby inside of you in an added stressor throughout the body, including to your heart and circulatory system. Total blood volume also increases by anywhere from 30-50% when a woman is pregnant in order to nourish the baby. Learn More: How Pregnancy Impacts Resting Heart Rate, HRV, Strain, Sleep & More
Lower Resting Heart Rate Indicates Better Health & Fitness
In the most basic terms, “When your heart rate goes down, it means that each beat is more effective” (WHOOP Podcast 29: HRV). A low resting heart rate is a sign of a strong heart muscle (as well as good heart health and reduced risk of heart disease) that can pump out greater amounts of blood with every beat and not have to beat as often. Your health and physical fitness is directly linked to the strength of your heart. When it doesn’t need to work as hard to push blood through your body to supply oxygen to your muscles, your level of fitness increases. Learn More: Understanding Maximum Heart Rate & Why It Matters for Training
Measure & Track Your Resting Heart Rate with WHOOP
Heart rates fluctuate constantly and increase when you are active, so accurately monitoring your resting heart rate manually can be quite difficult (particularly if you want a consistent reading every day to compare over time). WHOOP measures RHR while your body is in its most restful state during your deepest period of sleep each night, allowing for extremely controlled and reliable readings. The WHOOP app also tracks your trends in resting heart rate, and as your fitness improves you’ll likely see it begin to decrease. Additionally, WHOOP uses resting heart rate (as well as heart rate variability, respiratory rate and sleep performance) to calculate a daily recovery for you each morning--a metric for how “ready to go” your body is that day and how prepared you are to take on strain. Learn More: What a High Resting Heart Rate Can Mean & How to Improve It WHOOP is not a medical device and our products and services are not intended to diagnose illness, high blood pressure, or any other health problems. WHOOP should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.