Your Resting Heart Rate and Why It’s Important

Your Resting Heart Rate and Why It’s Important

Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute (BPM) while at rest.  

Why is Heart Rate Important?

Considering your heart is the most important muscle in your body, it is important to know that it’s functioning properly. You want your heart to beat in a rhythm; not too fast, not too slow, and not too erratic.  

Typically, an adult’s resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute1. Monitoring your heart rate from time to time is a good idea to know your normal heart rate and to take measures if it becomes abnormal.  

Resting heart rate is an indicator of physical fitness. When you first start a training program, it’s likely that you will want to know your resting heart rate. A lower resting heart rate may indicate a sign of good health and a higher degree of being physically fit.  

Depending on your age, gender, or medications you are taking, your resting heart rate changes. People who are physically fit generally have a lower resting rate than those who do not exercise regularly. Resting heart rate will typically increase as you age and will be much faster in infants. 

The best time to find your resting heart rate is in the morning after a good night’s sleep and before you get out of bed1 

  • The best places to find your pulse are the wrists, inside of your elbow, the side of your neck or the top of your foot. 
  • To get the most accurate reading, put your finger over your pulse and count the number of beats in 60 seconds. 

If your range is outside the typical resting heart rate, consult a doctor. Although there is a wide range of normal, an unusually high or low resting heart rate may indicate an underlying problem.  

How to Improve Heart Rate

Make Time for Regular Exercise

  • Make time for exercising every day, even if it’s just walking. Getting regular exercise stimulates your heart and lowers your heart rate. Aim for aerobic activities like; swimming, cycling, or dancing.

Avoid Sitting for Long Periods of Time

  • Studies have found that sitting too long is just as harmful to your body as smoking2. Take more breaks, get up and walk around, stretch your legs, just move your body. Keep yourself active as much as possible to stimulate your heart. 

Avoid Smoking

  • First of all, we know that smoking is bad and can potentially lead to lung cancer and other diseases, but it also increases the resting heart rate. Quitting can lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately3. 

Reduce Stress

  • This is the one that is sometimes out of our control, but if you have a lot on your mind, such as work, family, money, you’re probably stressed. If you are mindful of the stress in your life it’s a good idea to do things for yourself that reduce stress like; meditation, yoga, exercise, massage, and deep breathing. Find ways to calm yourself down to reduce stress and your heart rate.

Take measures to improve your heart rate by exercising or leading an active healthy lifestyle. Keep your heart happy! 

For more on heart health, listen to our podcast on 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Heart Health. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 


1. American Heart Association. Getting Active How do I calculate my heart rate? October 2016 

2. The Active Times. Sitting is the New Smoking – 7 Ways a Sedentary Lifestyle is Killing you The research on the sitting epidemic and the results aren’t good. September 2014  

3. Benefits of Quitting The health benefits of quitting smoking can help most of the major parts of your body: from you brain to your DNA 

Dancing and Its Health Benefits

Dancing and Its Health Benefits

Evidence Based

Dancing is not just a form of expression, not just reserved for the artistically inclined, and not as difficult to start as you might think. We invite you to challenge your thoughts of “I can’t do it” or “it’s not for me,” so you too can enjoy the benefits of this versatile form of exercise.  

Dancing extends across the boundaries of physical movement. You can dance for your fitness, for physical therapy, for cognitive therapy, to enjoy a social activity, or to take time alone. Today we will focus on the physical and cognitive benefits of dancing.  

If you already have the dance bug and just want to dive in, browse our website to learn about our many dance style Group Fitness Classes. We host a variety of classes like Belly Dancing, Cardio Jam, Hip Hop, Latin Heat, Zumba, and Yogabeat. Be sure to search by zip code to learn which classes are available at the LA Fitness clubs closest to you.  

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the physical and cognitive benefits of dancing! 

Physical Health Benefits

Muscle Strength

Every move you make as you dance is deliberate; there’s no laziness here. You need to engage your legs and core to keep your body stable, and your back and shoulders to carry your posture. As your muscles learn to move your weight in new ways as you step, lift, drag, kick, and flick to the beat, they will get stronger. This functional strengthening is what promotes better balance and overall posture.1

Bone Strength

You may still be thinking of dance as just another cardio type exercise, and it can be excellent for your heart, but did you know dancing also benefits your bone strength? Think about it this way: your muscles are attached to your bones; and when you strengthen your muscles, it’s like you’re reinforcing the bones.  

One article on The Health Benefits of Dance states that “the side-to-side movements of most dance steps help to strengthen the weight-bearing bones such as the femur, tibia, and fibula.”2 That sounds a lot like the steps you would see in Latin dances like the Cha-Cha-Cha, Merengue, or Salsa. If you’re looking to add some focus on your lower body, our Latin Heat or Zumba classes might be just what you’re looking for! 

Lower Blood Pressure

When it comes to heart health, “dance can be as beneficial as jogging around a track, biking, swimming, or running on the treadmill.”2 We know that cardio is excellent for exercising your heart, and that when you exercise your heart you benefit your whole body. One study confirmed that Zumba participants who had high blood pressure, effectively and significantly lowered their blood pressure after only 2 months of Zumba!3 

Weight Loss

Not only are you benefiting your heart and improving your blood pressure, you are burning calories with every step. Burning calories can help you shed the pounds, especially if you are also mindful of your nutrition.  

Depending on the level of intensity, your range of motion, your physical condition, and more, “the continuous motion of dance… [will allow you to] burn anywhere from 200 to 500 calories during a 1-hr session.”2 

All-Over Toning

Because dancing is a total body exercise, you can expect some total body toning. “Some dance forms,” like Belly Dancing and Hip Hop, “have repetitive movements such as hip drips, figure eights, circles, and shimmies, which can put the lower back and hip joints and ligaments through full range of motion that increases muscle tone and improves posture.”2 Strengthening these particular parts of your body can aid in the prevention of lower back problems.2 

Now that you know about the physical benefits, let’s get into how great dancing is for your brain.  

Cognitive Health Benefits


Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to form and optimize synaptic connections. This basically means that it is capable of growing, adapting, and changing. This is a very good thing because it means your brain can adapt to new situations and recover from old ones. 

Consider that most dancing requires you to learn a specific series of movements in a specific order for a specific amount of time. This prompts your brain to develop new neural pathways to allow this complex learning to take place.  

In fact, research has found that expert dancers have structural differences in their sensorimotor networks and in physical parts of the brain like the hippocampus (the part of brain responsible for emotion, memory, and your autonomic nervous system).1 

Aging and Memory

In general, physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has been shown to decrease the risk for neurological disorders, especially for cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s.1 To a lesser extent, there is also evidence to support that physical exercise can reduce your risk for Parkinson’s Disease and Strokes.1,4,5  

Dancing, however, has more benefits for the brain than repetitive physical exercise.6 A study on neuroplasticity in older adults found that, because dance requires constant cognitive and motor learning, it can counteract age-related cognitive decline.4 When it comes to brain health and function, the complexity of dance beats plain physical exercise. 


Never get called a clutz again. Dancing can improve your coordination because it, itself, requires a great deal of coordination. Have you ever tried to rub your belly with one hand and tap the top of your head with the other hand? It takes a certain amount of concentration, doesn’t it? 

With dancing, not only do you need to coordinate between the different limbs of your body, but you must do the same between other dancers on the floor, and hone-in on your timing and spatial awareness.7 

Coordination exercises have actually been shown to improve attention and concentration, even more so than simple aerobic exercises.1

Final Thoughts

We know there’s a lot of research here so let us leave you with some simple takeaways: 

  1. Dance is a sustainable form of exercise partly because it’s enjoyable 
  2. It can benefit your body by strengthening your bones and muscles, improve your blood pressure, and help you lose weight 
  3. Learning steps/choreography, and then randomizing those steps, can help your mental acuity 
  4. Dance can decrease your risk for neurological disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and to a lesser extent reduce your risk for Parkinson’s Disease and stroke 
  5. Dancing can help improve your ability to learn, memorize, concentrate, and multitask 

For more on brain health, read our registered dietitian’s article on These 7 Foods That Promote Brain Health. Or, check out her article on The 8 Best Foods for Your Heart. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 


  1. Dhami, Prabhjot, et al. “New Framework for Rehabilitation – Fusion of Cognitive and Physical Rehabilitation: the Hope for Dancing.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 1 Dec. 2014, 
  2. Alpert, Patricia T. “The Health Benefits of Dance – Patricia T. Alpert, 2011.” SAGE Journals, 2 Dec. 2010, 
  3. Jitesh, S., and Devi Gayatri. “Effect of Zumba Dance on Blood Pressure.” ProQuest, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 2016, 
  4. Lossing, Anna, et al. “Dance as a Treatment for Neurological Disorders.” Taylor & Francis, Taylor & Francis Online, 2016, 
  5. Earhart, G M. “Dance as Therapy for Individuals with Parkinson Disease.” European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2009, 
  6. Muller, Patrick, et al. “Evolution of Neuroplasticity in Response to Physical Activity in Old Age: The Case for Dancing.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 27 Feb. 2017, 
  7. Cross, Emily S., and Luca F. Ticini. “Neuroaesthetics and beyond: New Horizons in Applying the Science of the Brain to the Art of Dance.” SpringerLink, Springer Netherlands, 5 Jan. 2011, 

10 Gift Ideas for the Athlete in Your Life

10 Gift Ideas for the Athlete in Your Life

The season of gift giving and resolution making is upon us. Whether the people in your life are active or just starting out, the LA Fitness Online Shop has a lot of cool gifts that cater to their lifestyle. We’ll also be showing off some HyperIce technology that we think deserves a shout out, because with every great workout you need the tools for a solid recovery.  

From cozy sweaters to high-tech equipment, our holiday gift list is here to offer you some truly unique gift ideas. 

LAF Gear and Apparel


The most versatile gift option is one that allows your recipient to use their gift however they’d like. LA Fitness gift cards* can hold $50 to $200 and can be used to pay for Pro Results® Personal Training, HIIT, Pilates, Hot Yoga, and more. Just type choose your design, your amount, and you’re good to go! 


Warm, stylish, and perfect for the upcoming winter months, this Cropped Hoodie makes a great gift. Pair it with a quality gym bag or some headgear and your set is complete. If you don’t like the cropped sweater look, you can find the full-length version here. 


We just celebrated our 35th Anniversary! This Charcoal Heather pullover commemorates 35 years of LA Fitness in a soft, moisture controlling jacket. If you’re planning to gift apparel to someone who overheats easily and rarely wears a sweater, this lightweight jacket is the easy winner! Don’t forget to check out the women’s section for this design as well. 


The Half Dome Duffel is a medium capacity bag that is perfect for carrying your gym essentials. At 18″ wide and 10″ tall, it is easily capable of fitting a pair of gym shoes, your protein shaker, a small towel, and of course your phone, wallet, and keys. 


Because of its sleeveless design and relaxed fit, the muscle tank is a comfortable, breathable piece of work out apparel. Represent your commitment to HIIT with this logo tank and show up to the gym to hit your workout hard. Don’t forget to add a water bottle to complete the gift! You can go with aluminum or reusable plastic. 


Keep it simple with this t-shirt design. Made with a premium cotton and polyester blend, this fitted shirt is both comfortable and flattering. Complete the gift by adding an LAF or HIIT branded cap. 


These Black Heather tights are a must! We all know the appeal of a good pair of tights. The comfort and flexibility they offer your work out is simply sublime. Grab a pair of these for the tights-lover on your gift list and add the LA Fitness Sport Bra to create the perfect duo. 

High Tech Recovery Tools by HyperIce

Clicking on the Recovery Tab on the Shop LA Fitness website takes you to the HyperIce website. Here you will find lots of cool gadgets and wearable tech that take your workout recovery to the next level! Here are 3 that we think would make a really nice holiday gift! 

Photo credit: HyperIce


This is one impressive piece of tech. Quiet, lightweight, and with an interchangeable head, this massager ramps up your recovery. Similar devices are used in physical therapy offices because they are very good at releasing muscle tension and improving blood circulation. They can even help promote faster muscle recovery. It works by pulsing a controlled pressure to your muscles that you manually guide. This gift is a lifesaver for anyone who works hard in the gym and has the aches and pains to prove it. 

Photo credit: HyperIce


This is no ordinary foam roller. Built into this extraordinary piece of technology is the muscle saving function of high intensity vibration. In addition to the benefits of regular foam rolling, this device vibrates to deliver powerful relief to your muscles, right where you need it. In fact, vibration massage is studied for its potential ability to prevent muscle soreness after exercise, reduce joint pain, and even increase muscle mass.1 That’s why this device makes our gift list! 

Photo credit: HyperIce


The HyperIce ICT is an ultra-thin ice compression device that comes in different shapes and sizes for use on your back, legs, knees, and shoulders. This is a great gift idea for people who need to ice on the go without worrying about melting ice or dripping condensation. The material is also antimicrobial and machine washable! 

For more holiday tips and ideas, check out our blog post, Gearing Up for the Holidays, for 9 tips to help stay in shape this season. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

* Gift Card Terms and Conditions  


  1. Fanous, Summer. “What Is Vibration Therapy?” Healthline, 19 July 2016, 

What is Body Mass Index and How Should I Use It?

What is Body Mass Index and How Should I Use It?

What is Body Mass Index?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an indicator of the amount of body fat for the average person. It’s used as a tool to identify if an adult is at a healthy weight and healthy body fat level.

Before we dive into BMI, let’s first review the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight: 

  • More Energy 
  • Less Joint Pain 
  • Better Sleep  
  • Better regulation of blood pressure (better heart health) 
  • Decreased Risk of Diabetes 
  • Longevity 

These are just a few of the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, but what does BMI have to do with your weight and what does it mean?

For years, BMI has been used by healthcare providers as a measurement to define if a person has too much body fat, and if so, whether it “presents a risk to health.1 

How to Calculate Your BMI

Since we know maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for your health, let’s take a look at how to calculate body fat by just using your weight and height.

Calculation: Divide a person’s weight in pounds, by their height in inches. Divide the answer by height in inches. Multiply the answer by 703 (703 is the conversion factor to change units from metrics (meters and kilograms) to imperial (inches and pounds).  

Example: Weight is 140lbs and Height is 5’7” or 67in 

140lbs / 67in = 2.089  

2.089 / 67in = .0311 

.0311 x 703 = 21.9 

BMI = 21.9 


BMI is not a perfect measure and everyone’s body composition is different. BMI is a simple tool of weight-for-height and everyone’s height and weight varies. Therefore, this means BMI is not directly measuring body fat.  

Muscle and bone are denser than fat, which means BMI is not accurately addressing body fat. If an athlete or a muscular person calculated their BMI, their BMI might be high because they have more muscle.

According to BMI calculations they would be considered overweight, however, they don’t have too much fat on their body. Since most people are not athletes, BMI might be a good gauge for body fat.  

Healthy BMI Range 

So, what does this mean for you? The World Health Organization states that a healthy BMI range for adults is between 18 and 24.9. Overweight range for BMI is between 25 and 29.9, and obesity range for BMI is 30 or higher.1 These BMI ranges in adults are the same for men and women, regardless of their age. 

How to Use Your BMI

How should you use BMI? Use it as a gauge or a measure. Our very own LA Fitness Registered Dietitian has some helpful tips on lowering BMI; read about it here.   

If you would like to take your health and body composition to the next level, let us help you achieve your goals with our Pro Results® certified personal trainers. Pro Results® trainers can help identify your personal fitness goals and design a customized workout plan to reach those goals.  

When you make an appointment to start your fitness assessment, it will cover:  

  1. Your current fitness levels 
  2. A body composition test (if desired) 
  3. A personalized timeline to achieve your goals 
  4. An overview of cardio and weight equipment 
  5. And, a quick one-on-one workout 


  1. World Health Organization. Obesity and Overweight Fact sheet detail. February 2018 
How to Add Exercise to Your Busy Lifestyle

How to Add Exercise to Your Busy Lifestyle

Making time to exercise can be a balancing act… work, kids, after school activities, family & friend obligations, just to name a few.

The most common excuse for not exercising: “No time,” says clinical psychologist Lavinia Rodriguez.1

How to make time for exercise

How do you make the time for exercise when you have no time?

Morning Workout. Fitness experts will suggest a morning workout. Why? Because life gets crazier as the day goes on. By getting in a workout first thing in the morning, you have time for other day-to-day stuff without having to think about when you are going to fit in a workout.

Find a Friend. Grab, drag, or bribe a friend to come with you. Having your best bud or accountability partner come with you can make workouts so much fun! Keep one another accountable, set goals, or create challenges with one another. Having someone to go with you means you are less likely to make excuses not to go to the gym.

Write it down. Create a schedule for yourself. Take time on Sunday evening before you go to bed and write down your schedule for the week. Then find pockets of time where you can go to the gym and commit to your schedule. Once you’ve committed to your schedule, it’s less likely that you are going to break it and less likely to make excuses.

Set small goals. Small goals can be BIG wins! Start with working out one or two days per week. These small goals will turn into a routine and eventually become a habit.

Decide. You must decide that you are going to make time for exercise. Make the decision and follow through with it. There will be days when you don’t want to go to the gym, that’s when you need to prove your willpower.

Set your alarm. Set your alarm so you don’t forget. If you set your alarm for the morning, it’s not always easy waking up early. Challenge yourself not to hit snooze. Put your feet on the ground, get vertical, and start walking around. If you set your alarm for the afternoon, you may be hurting for time, but everyone needs to take a break. What you will soon realize is that working out helps improve productivity. So, hit the gym!

Don’t stress. Bottom line, any exercise is better than no exercise. Do what you can, when you can. Don’t stress out or put pressure on yourself because you didn’t make it to the gym.

For even more tips on how to add exercise to your schedule, check out these Workout Strategies for a Busy Lifestyle, or, read up on . For all our blog posts, and to get notified when we upload something new, subscribe today!


  1. Lavinia Rodriguez, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of Mind Over Fat Matters: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management (iUniverse, 2008).




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