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March 26, 2021

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.

By Mark Van Deusen

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 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 are often athletes and/or people who are 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.

 

Female Resting Heart Rate Chart: Average BPM by Age

A chart showing the average resting heart rate for women and men by age, tracked by WHOOP.

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.

 

Why is Average Resting Heart Rate for Women Higher Than for Men?

Surprisingly, the answer is actually quite simple. The size of women’s hearts are typically a bit smaller than men’s. As a result, each heart beat produces less blood flow and 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.

 

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 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.

 

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, our products and services are not intended to diagnose illness or any other health problems, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

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Mark Van Deusen

Mark Van Deusen is the Content Manager at WHOOP. Before joining WHOOP, Mark served as the Managing Editor and Head Writer for CelticsLife.com. He was also a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a contributor at Yahoo Sports. A former tennis coach, Mark graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in Sociology and Leadership Studies.

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