Police Psychology: Intrinsic Heart Rate – A Landmark for the Ability to Engage in Rational Thought
by Doug Gentz, Ph.D. – Psychological Services
Your intrinsic (inherent) heart rate is how fast your heart would beat when you are calm and at rest if it wasn’t slowed down to your (observed) resting rate by your vagus nerve. Your resting heart rate is best measured when you’re comfortably laying down and relaxed. The “normal” resting rate for a healthy, young adult ranges from about 60 to 85 beats per minute (bpm), slightly higher on average for females than males. Individuals with well conditioned cardiovascular systems may have lower resting rates, often less than 60 bpm.
Let’s start with two systems in your body — the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSNS). The sympathetic nervous system raises you up, pumps blood to your muscles, makes you heart rate go up, releases acid in your stomach to chew up the food, makes you breathe shallow and quick and all stuff so you can fight or flight. It throws your brain into the mode that causes tunnel vision, so it affect everything. Now you can’t just keep going up and up, so the parasympathetic nervous system calms you down. It releases the different hormones and stuff that calms all the body down so you can relax. They work in conjunction with each other to regulate your body and make it a mean fighting machine, or a run fast and get away from the Tyrannosaurs Rex running machine.