How To Measure Your Heart Rate: 4 Ways And What’s Normal
How, when and why to measure your pulse.
The major secret to getting fit and tracking your fitness, your heart rate refers to how many times your heart beats per minute. While seemingly basic, your heart rate can actually offer a phenomenal amount of insight into your overall health, cardiovascular fitness, endurance and more.;
More so, knowing and monitoring your heart rate can help you spot current or developing health problems, such as arrhythmias or tachycardia .
High Resting Heart Rate: Should You Worry
In general, a slower resting heart rate is a sign of good health. Some athletes and people who are very active even have heart rates that dip below 60 when theyre at rest.
A high resting heart rate, on the other hand, can be an indicator of problems such as:
- Poor physical condition.
- Thyroid problems.
Often, a high resting heart rate is a sign that your heart is working harder than it needs to. Like any muscle, the heart doesnt work as well when its out of shape. In people who arent very active, the heart isnt as efficient. It has to work harder to pump blood through your body, Dr. Singh says.
What Is A Normal Resting Heart Rate
Resting heart rate; is a measure of the number of times your heart beats in one minute when at rest. Even minor to moderate activity such as walking or drinking a cup of coffee can change your heart rate speed. Your medications, hormones, body size, stress and activity level can also lead to changes in resting heart rate. To find your average resting heart rate, its best to check first thing in the morning, before you do anything else.
The normal resting heart rate is between 60 to 100 beats per minute;. Medical experts use the term bradycardia for resting heart rates lower than 60 and tachycardia for heart rates above 100 beats per minute.
In general, its better to have a lower heart rate than a higher heart rate. Thats because a lower heart rate means your heart doesnt have to work as hard to keep things operating smoothly. Research also shows a correlation between high heart rate and health conditions including high blood pressure;and metabolic syndrome.
Recommended Reading: Does Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations
How Do I Change My Heart
To start, your thresholds are based on your age and typical resting heart rate. To adjust your thresholds:
As with all heart-rate tracking technology, accuracy is affected by personal physiology, device location on your arm, and type of movement.
For a more accurate heart-rate reading:
- Wear your Fitbit device on top of your wrist, and make sure the back of the device is in contact with your skin.
- When youre not exercising, wear your device a fingers width above your wrist bone.
During exercise, wear your device a bit tighter and higher for an improved fit. The band should be snug but not constricting . Many exercises such as bike riding or weight lifting cause you to bend your wrist frequently, which could interfere with the heart-rate signal if the watch is lower on your wrist.
S To Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
Also Check: What Causes Heart Rate To Spike
How Do I See Resting Heart Rate Data
To see your current resting heart rate, swipe up from the clock face on your device. To see resting heart rate data for the past 30 days, tap the Heart Rate tile in the Fitbit app.
This data is also available in the Health Metrics tile:
For more information, see What should I;know about health metrics in the Fitbit app?
What Is A Good Resting Heart Rate
Well, that’s the tricky part done – you’ve provided the heart rate calculator with all of the information that it needs, and now you’re ready to reap the rewards. First up is a quick analysis of your resting heart rate. We know that a lot of people want to answer the question “What is a good resting heart rate?“, which is what we aim to do here. The general rule is that, the lower your heart rate, the better. This is because your heart is stronger and needs fewer beats to push the same amount of blood around your body.
Take this measurement with a pinch of salt though! While it generally holds that the lower your heart rate, the better, recent studies suggest that there is enormous variability in the average resting heart rate from person to person. This means that you shouldn’t worry too much if you are far from the average resting heart rate of 65.6 ±7.7 bpm, as long as you’re living a healthy life, full of exercise, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and enough sleep.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t resting heart rates to worry about. The healthy range is 60 – 100 bpm. If you are above this range and haven’t done any exercise in an hour or recently taken any drugs or medicine, like alcohol and nicotine, consult a doctor immediately. The same is true if your heart rate is below 60 bpm, except if you lead a very athletic lifestyle. Repeat the measurements first, as errors can be made. Our calculator will tell you this automatically.
Also Check: How To Stop Hormonal Heart Palpitations
Heart Rate For Exercise
Now that you know how to calculate your resting heart rate, you can also monitor your target heart rate when exercising. Target heart rate indicates the minimum number of times your heart has to beat in order to conduct cardiovascular activity. According to the American Heart Association and the CDC, the normal target heart rate should be 64% to 76% of your maximum heart rate.
Maximum heart rate is based on age. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. This is known as the Heart Rate Reserve method and gives you your target heart rate training zone. For example, say youre 60 years old. You would subtract 60 from 220 and get 160 beats per minute. Next, youd take 64% and 76% of 160 to get your target heart rate zone. Your target zone would be between 102 and 121 beats per minute.
These figures are just a guide so dont panic if your numbers arent dead on. If youre concerned about your resting heart rate or ability to reach your target heart rate during exercise, talk to your doctor. A qualified physician can help you figure out whats normal and what, if anything, you need to do to stay healthy.
How To Find Your Resting Heart Rate
This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 93% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 71,450 times.
Experts agree that your resting heart rate is an important indicator of your fitness level and overall cardiovascular health.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Finding your resting heart rate is simple, and something you can do on your own at home. Studies show that once you’ve tracked your heart rate, you can use the information to help you learn more about your heart and your health.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source There are several steps you can take to effectively use this information in your daily life.
Don’t Miss: What Should My Heart Rate Be Working Out
How Can You Use Your Target Heart Rate
You can use your target heart rate to know how hard to exercise to gain the most aerobic benefit from your workout. You can exercise within your target heart rate to either maintain or raise your aerobic fitness level. To raise your fitness level, you can work harder while exercising to raise your heart rate toward the upper end of your target heart rate range. If you have not been exercising regularly, you may want to start at the low end of your target heart rate range and gradually exercise harder.
To take your heart rate during exercise, you can count the beats in a set period of time and then multiply by a number to get the number of beats per minute. For example, if you count your heartbeat for 30 seconds, double that number to get the number of beats per minute. You can also wear a heart rate monitor during exercise so you do not have to take your pulse. A heart rate monitor shows your pulse rate continuously, so you see how exercise changes your heart rate. Then you can work harder or easier to keep your heart working in your target heart rate range.
Target heart rate is only a guide. Each individual is different, so pay attention to how you feel, how hard you are breathing, how fast your heart is beating, and how much you feel the exertion in your muscles.
Analyzing Your Resting Heart Rate
The point of measuring your resting heart rate is to evaluate your recovery status and the development of your aerobic fitness. When you do the test under the same or very similar circumstances, it will help you monitor your current recovery status, possible overload state and whether your fitness has improved.
As your level of fitness improves, your resting heart rate typically goes down about 12 beats for every 2 months.
It is not uncommon that your resting heart rate is up by 25, sometimes even 57, beats per minute during hard training periods compared to a well-recovered state.
During a less intensive week, the resting heart rate should fall back to where it was during the previous less intensive week, or hopefully even slightly below that. As your level of fitness improves, your resting heart rate typically goes down about 12 beats for every 2 months.
For beginners, it might be even more if they simultaneously lose weight and improve their nutrition.
If you want an easy way to gauge your current;fitness level, consider taking the Polar Fitness Test regularly.
If you liked this post, dont forget to share so that others can find it, too.
You May Like: What Branch Of Medicine Deals With Heart Disease
What Is A Normal Or Resting Heart Rate
There are three general ways to classify;heart rate, 1) normal, 2) fast and 3) slow.
- A resting heart rate is normal between 60-100 beats per minute.
- A resting heart rate is fast at greater than 100 beats per minute.
- A resting heart rate is slow at less than 60 beats per minute.
A resting heart rate predicts longevity and cardiovascular disease, and current evidence suggests that it is also an important marker of outcome in cardiovascular disease, including heart failure. A normal heart rate is generally stated to be between 60-100 beats per minute at rest . However, recent studies have suggested that an ideal resting heart rate is between 50-70 beats per minute. It is well-known that the average resting heart rate for well-trained athletes is between 40-60 beats per minute! A heart rate can change dramatically while sleeping or with daily activity and exercise. Usually, a heart rate will be slower during sleep, faster during daily activities or with exercise, and recover quickly back to a resting rate after exercise. This means your heart has appropriate heart rate variability and recovery, which is associated with good heart health. Your resting heart rate can also be used to estimate how much energy your body uses, or your basal metabolic rate.
How To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate
How can you dial down a resting heart rate? Lifestyle changes can boost heart health and lower your pulse.
1. Get moving
Exercise is the number one way to lower resting heart rate, says Dr. Singh. The most common cause of a high resting heart rate is a sedentary lifestyle, one where you spend a lot of time not moving.
And being in poor shape can increase the risk of other problems, including obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. To give your heart a healthy workout, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity.
The more you exercise, the stronger your heart becomes. Since its pumping more blood with each beat, it wont need to pump as hard, which will lower your heart rate, she says.
2. Manage stress
Anxiety and stress can elevate the heart rate, too. To help bring it down, try to bring calm to your day, Dr. Singh says. Practice mindfulness, try to meditate or do breathing exercises.
3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine
Stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes can drive your heart rate up, Dr. Singh says. Cutting back may help lower your resting heart rate.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
The more weight you carry, the harder your body has to work to move blood through the body especially if you dont have a lot of muscle mass, Dr. Singh says. Losing weight can help bring down your heart rate.
5. Stay hydrated
6. Sleep well
Recommended Reading: Can This 10 Second Trick Prevent Your Heart Attack
What’s A Normal Heart Rate
Most adults have a resting heart rate;between 60;and 100bpm.
The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be. For example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60bpm, or lower.
See a GP to get checked if you think your heart rate is continuously above 120bpm or below 40bpm, although it;may simply be that this is normal for you.
Visit the British Heart Foundation for more information on checking your pulse.
Target Heart Rate For Exercise
Your target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. It is the level at which your heart is beating with moderate to high intensity. To determine your maximum heart rate, take 220 and subtract your age.
Sustaining a workout at this pace improves cardiorespiratory endurance. So knowing your target heart rate helps you pace your workouts. Exercising at the right level of intensity will help you avoid burning out or wasting time with a workout thats not vigorous enough to help you meet your goals.
What Does This Tool Help You Learn
This tool will help you find your target heart rate based on your age, resting heart rate, and activity level. Your target heart rate can guide you to how hard you should exercise so you can get the most aerobic benefit from your workout.
Do not use this target heart rate measurement if you are taking medicine that affects your heart rate, such as beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or digoxin. Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program.
What Are Heart Palpitations
A heart palpitation is when you suddenly become aware of your heart beating, usually in an irregular way. Sometimes you can feel it in your ears or your chest when youre lying down. Your heart beat may feel:
- too fast or slow
- like its fluttering
- like its thudding, or pounding.
It is not unusual to feel heart palpitations occasionally and mostly they are harmless. However if youre experiencing them on a regular basis, see your doctor.
Read Also: Does Magnesium Help With Heart Palpitations
What Are The Heart
Personalized zones adjust as your fitness level or other factors change.
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.|
Between 60% and 84% of your heart rate reserve
|In the cardio zone, youre likely doing a vigorous activity such as running or spinning.|
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.|