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How Do You Measure Heart Rate

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Higher Maximum Heart Rate With Lower Fitness

How to measure heart rate (pulse) on your iPhone

Healthy non-athletes almost reach their true maximum heart rate during an all-out test of maximum;oxygen uptake. In our research, we usually add five heart beats to the highest heart rate achieved during a cardiopulmonary exercise test, but according to our new results that is three beats too many. The study also indicates that women and men have similar maximum heart rates, and that persons with below-average fitness generally have higher maximum heart rates than fitter persons.

The study includes 107 men and women between 22 and 70 years of age. They all had;their maximum oxygen uptake tested;at our lab, and then performed a standardized maximum heart rate test a few days later. The results show that the real maximum heart rate was 2.2 beats higher per minute than the maximum heart rate achieved during the test of oxygen uptake.

How To Find Your Target Heart Rate

First, it helps to know your resting heart rate, Martin says. Find your pulse . Then count the number of beats in a minutethats your resting heart rate. The average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100, he says. The more fit you are, the lower your resting heart rate; for very fit people, its in the range of 40 to 50 beats per minute.

Target heart rate is generally expressed as a percentage of your maximum safe heart rate. The maximum rate is based on your age, as subtracted from 220. So for a 50-year-old, maximum heart rate is 220 minus 50, or 170 beats per minute. At a 50 percent exertion level, your target would be 50 percent of that maximum, or 85 beats per minute. At an 85 percent level of exertion, your target would be 145 beats per minute. Therefore, the target heart rate that a 50-year-old would want to aim for during exercise is 85 to 145 beats per minute.

But theres an easier way to figure it out if you want to skip the math: Wear a fitness tracking device, or exercise on a treadmill or other machine that calculates target heart rate for you, Blaha suggests.

What Is The Pulse

The pulse is the expansion of the arteries. This expansion is caused by an increase in blood pressure pushing against the elastic walls of the arteries each time the heart beats.

These expansions rise and fall in time with the heart as it pumps the blood and then rests as it refills. The pulsations are felt at certain points on the body where larger arteries run closer to the skin.

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What Is A Normal Heart Rate

A normal heart rate for adults is typically 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heart rate that is slower than 60 beats per minute is considered bradycardia and a rate that is faster than 100 beats per minutes is termed tachycardia . There are some experts who believe that an ideal resting heart rate is closer to 50 to 70 beats per minute. Regardless of what is considered normal, it’s important to recognize that a healthy heart rate will vary depending on the situation.

Among healthy people, a slower heart rate can be due to being physically fit, a medication, or sleep patterns. However, a slower heart rate can indicate a sign of disease including heart disease, certain infections, high levels of potassium in the blood, or an underactive thyroid.

On the reverse side, a fast rate in healthy people can be because they are exercising, nervous or excited, using a stimulant or are pregnant. The health conditions that are associated with a fast heart rate include most infections or just about any cause of fever, heart problems, certain medications, low levels of potassium in the blood, an overactive thyroid gland or too much thyroid medication, anemia, or asthma or other breathing trouble.

Understanding Your Target Heart Rate

Are You Working Out Hard Enough?

Nearly all exercise is good. But to be sure youre getting the most fromyour workout yet staying at a level thats safe for you, you can monitorhow hard your heart is working.

Aiming for whats called a target heart rate can help you do this, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist;Seth Martin, M.D., M.P.H.;Think of it as the sweet spot between not exercising hard enough and overexerting.

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Target Heart Rate For Different Exercises

For an effective cardio workout, it is important to exercise at a certain level of intensity. Your target heart rate is a zone at which you can attain the level of exertion necessary for improving your cardiovascular fitness. Depending on your age, sex, level of fitness, the target heart rate zone will vary from 50 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. Here is the breakdown for understanding heart rate zones:

What Are The Heart

Personalized zones adjust as your fitness level or other factors change.


Below Zones

Below 40% of your heart rate reserve

Below the fat burn zone, your heart beats at a slower pace. Youre at rest for now.

Fat Burn Zone

Between 40% and 59% of your heart rate reserve

In the fat burn zone, youre likely in a moderate activity such as a brisk walk. Your heart rate and breathing might be elevated, but you can still carry on a conversation.

Cardio Zone

Between 60% and 84% of your heart rate reserve

In the cardio zone, youre likely doing a vigorous activity such as running or spinning.

Peak Zone

Greater than 85% of your heart rate reserve

In the peak zone, youre likely doing a short, intense activity that improves performance and speed such as sprinting or high-intensity interval training.

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How To Calculate Maximum Heart Rate With A Field Test

Besides estimations and tests, you can calculate max heart rate by putting on your running shoes, firing up your heart rate monitor, and heading out into the real world.

You wont need fancy laboratory equipment for the field test but youll still get an accurate and personal estimation of your maximum heart rate. The premise is simple: you warm up properly and then do an exercise that brings you close to your maximum effort.

Please note that for a maximum effort field test its best to call a friend and have them join you, just to be on the safe side. Also, make sure you have some hard training under your belt from recent weeks.

A Higher Resting Heart Rate Can Be Concerning

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Several studies have confirmed that the higher your resting heart rate, the greater your risk of death. Most of this risk is due to heart disease, but other causes of death also contribute to the risk. One study showed that a RHR of more than 90 beats per minute;was associated with higher heart disease death rates .

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What Heart Rate Is Considered Normal


Before we let you know how you can take a measurement of your heart rate, it is important to know what the normal heart beat is at its resting time. For adults, it ranges from 60 to 100 beats in every sixty seconds. A lower heart rate indicates that your heart is functioning properly so dont panic if you record a heart rate of fewer than 50 beats per minute. For instance, an athlete who has been hitting the gym and gets his exercises in training right might record heart rates of as low as 40 beats per minute.

Calculating Maximum Heart Rate

Your maximum heart rate or MHR is the number of heartbeats per minute when your heart is working at its maximum capacity. It is the highest heart rate that can be achieved by a person while performing strenuous activities. Its important to find out your maximum heart rate as your target heart ratethe optimum heart rate level for achieving your goals is calculated using MHR.

A max heart rate calculation can be made using the Maximum Heart Rate Formula: 206.9 .

Subtracting your age from the number 220 is an easy way to calculate your MHR. But since MHR actually decreases as we age, this can give your reading that may be up to 12 beats per minute up or down. Its hard to get an exact MHR is affected by many factors. A variety of MHR values can be found among people of the same age, size, and gender.

  • Size: smaller people end to have higher MHR than larger people.
  • Gender: Probably because of the size difference, women tend to have higher MHR than men.
  • Age: MHR can decline with increasing age.

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Learn What Is A Normal Heart Rate And How To Find Your Pulse With Your Fingers Or A Device

Measuring your heart rate is any easy way to gauge your health, as it provides a real-time snapshot of your heart muscle function. For most adults, a normal resting heart ratethe number of heartbeats per minute while at restranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. A normal heart rate can vary from person to person. However, an unusually high or low resting heart rate can be a sign of trouble.

How To Check Your Pulse

How Can You Measure Your Heart Rate

As the heart forces blood through the arteries, you feel the beats by firmly pressing on the arteries, which are located close to the surface of the skin at certain points of the body. The pulse can be found on the side of the neck, on the inside of the elbow, or at the wrist. For most people, it is easiest to take the pulse at the wrist.;If you use the lower neck, be sure not to press too hard, and never press on the pulses on both sides of the lower neck at the same time to prevent blocking blood flow to the brain. When taking your pulse:

  • Using the first and second fingertips, press firmly but gently on the arteries until you feel a pulse.

  • Begin counting the pulse when the clock’s second hand is on the 12.

  • Count your pulse for 60 seconds .

  • When counting, do not watch the clock continuously, but concentrate on the beats of the pulse.

  • If unsure about your results, ask another person to count for you.

If your;doctor has ordered you to check your own pulse and you are having difficulty finding it, consult your;doctor or nurse for additional instruction.

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What Is Maximum Heart Rate

Your maximum heart rate is, on average, the highest your pulse can get. One way to get a rough estimate of your predicted maximum is to subtract your age from the number 220.

For example, a 40-year-old’s predicted maximum heart rate is about 180 beats per minute.

You can learn your actual maximum heart rate with a graded exercise test. If youâre taking medicines or have a medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, ask your doctor whether you should adjust your exercise plan to keep your heart rate under a specific number.

How To Find Your Real Maximum Heart Rate

by: Shin Ohtake, Fitness & Fat-Loss ExpertAuthor of MAX Workouts, The Ultimate Lean Body Fitness Program

Exercising within your target heart rate zone has long been accepted as a standard training protocol, but what if I told you that the formula for calculating your max heart rate is inaccurate?; And that even the doctor that created the formula admits to being completely surprised at how the medical and fitness communities have made it the standard formula, without anyone actually doing any extended research.;

Heres the real story on how the formula for calculating your max heart rate came about :

Can you imagine if your MHR was 160, but according to the formula your MHR was supposed to be 185?; You could push your self until you passed out and still not reach your calculated MHR.; Or, on the other hand, what if your MHR was actually 200, but the formula calculated it to be 180?; You would always be training at sub-par intensities, wondering why the people around you were sweatin up a storm when you barely broke a sweat.

The truth is that the popularity of the formula was more about timing than about exact science.; It was available at just the right time, when people wanted an easy way to objectively figure out an intensity that would satisfy filling the criteria for both the medical field as well as the fitness field.;

So what is the best way to find out how hard you need to train, without going into the danger zone?; Well, you have a couple of options.

Stay Lean,

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Why Is Heart Rate Recovery Important

Studies have indicated that the speed at which our heart rate declines after exercise is due to how quickly our nervous system shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic.

The ability of our parasympathetic nervous system to reactivate is an important indicator of our cardiovascular health and fitness.

In fact, delayed or impaired parasympathetic activation has been shown to increase our risk for mortality and even sudden cardiac death. A 1994 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that heart rate recovery is slowed in patients with chronic heart failure, but it is accelerated in well-trained athletes.

Since then, several studies have found that heart rate recovery is a predictor of cardiovascular disease, as well as cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. It may also be used to monitor changes in cardiorespiratory exercise performance.

For instance, this study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, followed 2,428 adults for six years. At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that an abnormal heart rate recovery is a strong predictor of the risk of death.

If youd like to learn more about research on heart rate recovery, check out articles here, here, and here.

Further, as far as we could find, there is not a clear-cut criterion for an abnormal heart rate recovery. However, multiple studies examining some of the health risks associated with a slow recovery used 12 beats or less as the cutoff.

What Should Your Heart Rate Be

How To Determine Heart Rate

Heart rate norms are based primarily on age rather than gender, although men tend to have slightly lower heart rates than women.

The ideal resting heart rate for adults is 60 to 100 bpm. Very fit individuals such as athletes may have resting heart rates below 60 bpm.

Target heart rates can be used to maximize the efficiency of your workouts, as well as to keep you safe. Typically, exercising at 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate is most beneficial.

Exercising at the lower end of this percentage or doing interval training is ideal for fat burning. Exercising at the higher end is ideal for building cardiovascular strength.

To calculate your estimated maximum heart rate, you can use the equation of subtracting your age from 220. For example, if youre 45, then your approximate maximum heart rate is 175 bpm .

You can then use your maximum heart rate to determine what your target heart rate is while exercising.

The chart below shows estimated maximum and target heart rates for various age groups:


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How To Measure And Understand Heart Rate

Most people have heard about monitoring their heart rate the speed at which your heart beats for exercising safely and effectively. However, they dont always understand how to measure heart rate or why heart rate measurement is so important.

They are aware that exercise raises the heart rate, but have no real idea about just how much that increase should be. What should your hrv heart rate variability be? How often should your heart rate be elevated? How much should you exercise, for how long, and what will it do to your blood pressure?

To learn what heart rate is optimum for your goals, you must first understand what is heart rate and how it relates to exercise. You should also learn the different methods for accurately identifying your target heart rate.

What Is A Heart Rate Zone

A persons maximum heart rate zone determines how much your body can exert effort until a certain threshold. That said, there are limits on your training exercise when your heart rate zone goes beyond or below the heart rate zone. A checkup at a hospital will allow doctors to measure if your body can take vigorous exercises. You can also expect both aerobic and anaerobic exercises to help you determine your heart rate zone.;

Measure Your Heart Rate Zone By These Steps:

Any person can determine their heart zone with this easy method. First, you must subtract your age from 220. The result is your maximum heart rate. Then, calculate your resting heart rate by the method mentioned earlier. You can calculate your heart rate reserve by subtracting the resting heart rate with a maximum heart rate.;

A vigorous-intensity exercise will help a person determine if they fit certain routines and healthy for their bodies. You can use a table from your doctor or an online website to check the rest of the statistics to;measure your heart rate zone correctly.;

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Target Heart Rate And Estimated Maximum Heart Rate

One way of checking physical activity intensity is to determine whether your pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity.1

For moderate-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 64% and 76%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate based on your age. To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 50 years = 170 beats per minute . The 64% and 76% levels would be:

  • 64% level: 170 x 0.64 = 109 bpm, and
  • 76% level: 170 x 0.76 = 129 bpm

This shows that moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person will require that the heart rate remains between 109 and 129 bpm during physical activity.

For vigorous-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 77% and 93%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. To figure out this range, follow the same formula used above, except change 64 and 76% to 77 and 93%. For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 35 years = 185 beats per minute . The 77% and 93% levels would be:

  • 77% level: 185 x 0.77 = 142 bpm, and
  • 93% level: 185 x 0.93 = 172 bpm

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