Health & Wellness Articles

SparkPeople Health Measurements

Track Your Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and More!

Page 3 of 3

Cholesterol that flows through the bloodstream is called serum (blood) cholesterol. Your body manufactures most of its blood cholesterol, but it absorbs some from the foods you eat. Your total cholesterol is measured by a doctor-ordered blood test called a lipid panel. A total blood cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL is a healthy goal. If your doctor thinks you're at risk for high cholesterol, based on family history or health status, he or she will probably order lipid panels more regularly to keep an eye on your cholesterol over time.

High cholesterol can lead to health problems, including artery blockage and heart disease. One of the best ways to lower your cholesterol is to track it. Have your doctor perform blood tests regularly so that you can both track your results and progress. For more information about lowering your cholesterol, click here.

Resting Heart Rate
Resting heart rate (RHR) is the number of times your heart beats per minute while at rest. A strong or efficient heart can pump more blood with fewer, stronger beats, while a weaker heart needs to pump faster to do the same amount of work. That's why resting heart rate is a good indicator of your state of fitness. Plus, some studies show that a higher resting heart rate can raise the chances of a heart attack.

To accurately measure your resting heart rate, count your pulse on your wrist (radial pulse) or on the side of your neck (carotid pulse) prior to getting out of bed in the morning. Count the number of beats, starting with zero, for one full minute. For accuracy, take your resting heart rate three mornings in a row and average the heart rates. Measuring your resting heart rate every month or two will help you notice trends or changes over time.

A normal resting heart rate for adults can vary from as low as 40 beats per minute (bpm) to as high as 100 bpm, according to the American Council on Exercise; 70-80 beats per minute (or fewer) is average. Men's heart rates tend to be slightly higher than women's are, and the resting heart rates of endurance athletes are often very low (below 40 bpm). Resting heart rate alone can't determine your health or fitness level, but experts agree that a lower resting heart rate is usually an indicator or greater fitness, which often translates to better heart health.

Over time, exercising regularly—especially doing cardio (aerobic) exercise and endurance training—can strengthen your heart's efficiency and lower your resting heart rate. Many factors (age, fitness level, genetics and more) can affect resting heart rate, which can also vary day to day, so it's important to notice general trends over the course of several weeks and months. As your RHR lowers, recalculate your target heart rate range every few months. If your resting heart rate suddenly elevates, it can indicate overtraining or the need for more rest and recovery from a previous workout. If you feel that your resting heart rate is of concern, talk with your health care provider.

Take control of your health! Start tracking these health measurements today!

This article was reviewed and approved by SparkPeople experts Tanya Jolliffe, Nutritionist, and Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer and Health Educator.
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
‹ Previous Page   Page 3 of 3  
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • I'm 68 and I have asthma and a-fib. My resting heart rate today is 120. No, I'm not out of shape; I've had a cold for 4 days and I'm wheezing now. When I got older I had more and greater challenges against staying healthy. I also had a greater repertoire of health ideas. - 8/21/2014 8:40:52 AM
  • I get my BP and glucose checked regularly and both are always great, with my BP always trending on the quite low side. I was quite happy to read about resting heart rate....isn't it best to test that upon waking, before getting out of bed....and taking an average of several days? I need to do that. - 8/18/2013 9:34:56 AM
  • All my life I had great bp. It run normal low [ 106 to116 over like 70] when it started staying around 140, my dr put me on meds.I am hoping by losing weight I can get off this med ,but I also know when you have diabetes they like you to take it as a prevention of kidney problems. My dr. done this years ago when my pressure was great, I work at a cleaning company and my readings was like 90/50 I could not bend without almost passing out and she told me to keep taking it, this was the one time I didn't do what she said. I didn't want to end up on the floor with injuries. - 9/8/2012 10:20:47 AM
  • I hope you all get/feel better soon. Since I have been doing this faithfully, I have been feeling great ( as long as I don't forget to take my medicine). As I have an AutoImmune disease called Sneddon's Syndrome. It's very rare; it messes with your blood, nerves, bones and whatever else it wants to hurt you with. It's attacked all those and left me with being disabled.

    This healthy, fun, and exciting site has given me hope, joy and feeling great!
    My prayers are with you all.
    - 5/2/2012 5:19:54 PM
  • I think every adult should test their blood sugar at some point, especially if you are over thirty. Test it fasting and then one and two hours after you finish eating a meal. You would be surprised how many people have blood sugar problems but haven't gotten fat, so they think their health is normal. That's a good way to wind up diabetic and not even know it was coming. - 3/1/2011 9:44:44 PM
  • I, too, have Hashimotos, and would like some information about this, and about living with it. Thank you for a wonderful site, for advice and help. You are all doing a GREAT job!! - 12/29/2010 11:38:33 PM
    I think it would be more useful to be able to track BP at least twice a day and to enter the time. That's what my doctor wants to see. - 11/7/2010 12:17:01 PM
    I am postmenopausal for 5 years, taking BHRT, and thyroid meds. I have Hashimoto's but when last checked the antibodies are lowering slowly. Please add and address hypothyroid/Hashi
    moto's to the chronic conditions/dis-ea
    se. I release extra weight very slowly with a vigorous exercise plan and calorie restriction. - 2/8/2010 1:46:22 PM
  • I am in menopause and have METABOLIC SYNDROME/pre-diab
    etes, so this article is very helpful. 57 million Americans have this Syndrome, which is also called Insulin Resistance or Syndrome X. I learned a great deal about it from ARTHUR AGATSTON, M.D.'s book "The South Beach Heart Health Program" which was well worth reading. - 8/14/2009 1:34:22 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by August 6! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.