How To Get Your Heart Rate Up
Its essential that some of your exercise make your heart beat fasterthan it does when youre resting.
Exercise is an important part of disease prevention and that includes cancer prevention, too. But not all exercise is created equal. Its essential that some of your exercise make your heart beat faster than it does when youre resting.
Getting your heart to beat faster trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles more efficiently, helps you burn more calories and lowers your cholesterol. All of this can help you stay healthy and lower your cancer risk.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week can help lower your cancer risk. Its the vigorous exercises that can help you get your heart rate up.
How to measure your heart rate
So, how do you determine your heart rate? One of the easiest ways to measure your heart rate is with a monitor, says Whittney Thoman, exercise physiologist at MD Andersons Cancer Prevention Center. This is typically a watch or a strap that goes around your arm or chest that syncs with a watch or another device. Many wearable fitness trackers now include heart rate monitors.
Understanding your heart rate
Now that you know how to measure your heart rate, you can determine:
Check your pulse or your heart rate monitor while youre resting and then again while youre exercising to compare your resting heart rate to your active heart rate.
Best Devices For Measuring Heart Rate
So now you know all the different kinds of heart rate and how to measure them using clocks and math. Even though the traditional methods aren’t all that hard, there are easier — and potentially more accurate — ways to measure and track your heart rate.
Of course, the most accurate readings will come from a lab test or other clinical method. But since most people don’t have access to and don’t need those methods, these devices will work just fine.
Healthy Hearts Recover Fast
If you are healthy and fit, your heart will recover quickly after exercise, promptly returning to a lower rate. If you are out of shape, however, youre likely to be huffing and puffing after a workout, while your heart rate stays high for a longer time. You can assess this by measuring your heart rate recovery the difference between your beats per minute when exercising vigorously and your beats per minute one minute after stopping exercising.
To find your HRR, exercise at a high intensity for a few minutes. High-intensity exercise is when you cant say more than three or four words without significant effort, and are breathing mostly through your mouth, Dr. Sinha says. Stop exercising and immediately measure your heart rate, then again one minute later. A decrease of 15-25 beats per minute in the first minute is normal. The higher the number of decrease, the fitter you are.
The difference between those two numbers can also tell you something about your risk of dying from a heart attack, Dr. Sinha adds. Studies show that if it drops by 12 or fewer beats in that one minute after exercise, you have a higher risk of death from heart disease.”
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What Is The Respiration Rate
The respiration rate is the number of breaths a person takes per minute. The rate is usually measured when a person is at rest and simply involves counting the number of breaths for one minute by counting how many times the chest rises. Respiration rates may increase with fever, illness, and other medical conditions. When checking respiration, it is important to also note whether a person has any difficulty breathing.
Normal respiration rates for an adult person at rest range from 12 to 16 breaths per minute.
About Glass Thermometers Containing Mercury
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury is a toxic substance that poses a threat to the health of humans, as well as to the environment. Because of the risk of breaking, glass thermometers containing mercury should be removed from use and disposed of properly in accordance with local, state, and federal laws. Contact your local health department, waste disposal authority, or fire department for information on how to properly dispose of mercury thermometers.
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What Is Maximum Heart Rate
The maximum heart rate is the highest heart rate achieved during maximal exercise. One simple method to calculate your predicted maximum heart rate, uses this formula:
220 – your age = predicted maximum heart rate
Example: a 40-year-old’s predicted maximum heart rate is 180 beats/minute.
There are other formulas that take into account the variations in maximal heart rate with age and gender. If you are interested in learning more about these more accurate but slightly more complicated formulas please see these resources:
- Gellish RL, Goslin BR, Olson RE, McDonald A, Russi GD, Moudgil VK. Longitudinal modeling of the relationship between age and maximal heart rate. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 May 39:822-9. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17468581
- Gulati M, Shaw LJ, Thisted RA, Black HR, Bairey Merz CN, Arnsdorf MF. Heart rate response to exercise stress testing in asymptomatic women: the st. James women take heart project. Circulation. 2010 Jul 13 122:130-7. Epub 2010 Jun 28. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20585008
Your actual maximum heart rate is most accurately determined by a medically supervised maximal graded exercise test.
Please note that some medications and medical conditions may affect your heart rate. If you are taking medications or have a medical condition , always ask your doctor if your maximum heart rate/target heart rate will be affected. If so, your heart rate ranges for exercise should be prescribed by your doctor or an exercise specialist.
What Should Your Resting Heart Rate Be
Out of all the health stats to keep your eye on, your resting heart rate might feel like one of the more boring ones.
Seeing your heart rate rise while you’re exercising can be a confidence boost, letting you know you’re getting a good workout in. Checking it when your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest is a fun reminder of just how anxiety-inducing some everyday situations can be like going on a first date or watching sports.
But when you’re just sitting down binge-watching some TV or typing away at your computer checking your resting heart rate can feel…anti-climactic.
And yet, it’s important to do now and then. A healthy heart is a strong heart, after all.
“Monitoring your resting heart rate is important because it can help provide clues about your overall heart health. For instance, a consistently high resting heart rate can be a sign that your heart isn’t working as efficiently as it could be. In some cases, it can even be a sign of an underlying heart condition,” explains Dr. Bindu Chebrolu, cardiologist at Houston Methodist.
Plus, one of the benefits of knowing your resting heart rate is that there are ways to lower it if it is too high.
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Using Your Pulse To Monitor Your Heart Rate
Choosing A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor.
- Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
- Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice or find options at validatebp.org.
- When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
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Clinical Contributors To This Story
Sarah L. Timmapuri, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiac / Heart Health, Exercise / Fitness.
If your heart is racing as youre sitting reading this article, its possible your body is trying to tell you something. A high resting heart rate, or a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute, means your heart is working extra hard to pump blood through your body. And, that extra effort could result in a wide range of negative effects on your overall health, including feelings of dizziness and fatigue and most seriously blood clots, heart failure and, in rare cases, sudden death.
Normal resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and its simple to check how fast yours is beating. While idle, hold your pointer and middle finger between your bone and tendon on the thumb side on your wrist until you feel your pulse, and count the number of beats for a minute that is your resting heart rate.
Certain aspects of someones resting heart rate are directly connected to uncontrollable factors, such as age and genetics, however there are certain actions that be taken to help decrease heart rate and improve overall wellbeing for those whose resting heart rate is above normal.
Here are six proven ways to lower your resting heart rate:
What Is A Healthy Resting Heart Rate For An Adult
A normal resting heart rate for adults lies somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute , and varies based on age group and gender. Women’s heart rates are about 2-7 BPM faster than men’s on average.
Generally speaking, you want to keep your resting heart rate as low as possible. One large, long-term study compared men with heart rates above 90 and those below 80. The men with higher average heart rates were associated with triple the risk of death.
People with lower heart rates tend to be more active and get more exercise than others. A young, highly-trained athlete’s healthy resting heart rate may be as low as 40 BPM.
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S To Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls during contraction and relaxation of the heart. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries, resulting in the highest blood pressure as the heart contracts. When the heart relaxes, the blood pressure falls.
Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure. The higher number, or systolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and pumps blood through the body. The lower number, or diastolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart is at rest and is filling with blood. Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are recorded as “mm Hg” . This recording represents how high the mercury column in an old-fashioned manual blood pressure device is raised by the pressure of the blood. Today, your doctor’s office is more likely to use a simple dial for this measurement.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, directly increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. With high blood pressure, the arteries may have an increased resistance against the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood.
Blood pressure is categorized as normal, elevated, or stage 1 or stage 2 high blood pressure:
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About The Digital Monitor
The digital monitor is automatic, with the measurements appearing on a small screen. Because the recordings are easy to read, this is the most popular blood pressure measuring device. It is also easier to use than the aneroid unit, and since there is no need to listen to heartbeats through the stethoscope, this is a good device for hearing-impaired patients. One disadvantage is that body movement or an irregular heart rate can change the accuracy. These units are also more expensive than the aneroid monitors.
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.
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How To Take Your Heart Rate
You can measure your heart rate by finding your pulse. The pulsating rhythm of your bloodyour pulsematches the movements of your heart and indicates your heart rate. Using your middle and index finger, press firmly in an area of your body that has a pulse. One of the most common places to take your pulse is on the inside of your wrist. Other body parts that reveal your pulse include:
- The side of your neck
- The pit opposite your elbow
- The base of your toe
Once you locate your pulse, using a stopwatch, begin counting each beat for 60 seconds. Alternatively, you can count the beats for 15 seconds and multiply your results by 4. This measurement indicates your approximate resting heart rate.
Why Does A Good Resting Heart Rate Matter
It’s important to know what heart rate is healthy and normal at every age in your life. Your heart rate, or pulse, can guide you to discover dangerous health conditions that need expert care, such as some heart problems. But your normal resting heart rate changes throughout your life as you age. Read this guide to learn more about your pulse through every step of your life.
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Exercise Heart Rate Monitor
Some people use exercise heart rate monitors that they purchase to determine how exercise affects them and see if they can stay within their target zones. Popular options include:
- Chest strap monitor: A transmitter attaches to a belt worn around your chest, and sends electrical signals to a receiver that is worn on the wrist like a watch. The wrist receiver or a cell phone app displays your heart rate.
- Wristwatch monitor: Optical sensors are used to detect the blood flowing through your veins some measure light absorption on the skin on the wrist. They can be less accurate than chest strap monitors because they measure blood flow further away from your heart, plus light can hit the sensor as you move your wrist around.
Know Your Numbers: Maximum And Target Heart Rate By Age
This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3
In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity its about 70-85% of maximum.
The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.
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What Affects The Test
You may not be able to feel your pulse or count your pulse correctly if you:
- Have decreased sensation in your fingers.
- Are not using the right amount of pressure. Too much pressure can slow the heart rate, and too little pressure can cause you to miss some beats.
- Are trying to take your pulse in an area that is covered by too much muscle or fat.
- Are using your thumb to take your pulse. Your thumb has its own pulse, which will interfere with your counting.
- Are moving too much while trying to take your pulse.
Track Your Heart Rate
Keeping track of your heart rate can give you insight into your fitness level, heart health and emotional health, Dr. Sinha says. Many people are walking around with a resting heart rate that is too high, due to factors such as too much caffeine, dehydration, inactivity and persistent stress. Those extra heart beats over time can be taking years off your life.
Dr. Sinha recommends tracking your heart rate as well as keeping a journal of which activities are causing higher heart rates. Then use that information to make changes, set priorities and move toward a healthier life. If daily stress is raising your resting heart rate, for example, think twice about taking on that extra project at work or school. Consider adding a morning walk or a 10-minute breathing session at lunch.
A final reminder from Dr. Sinha: Get your doctors OK before exercising hard if you have a heart condition or other disorder where exercising may be unsafe. Also keep in mind that certain medications can affect your heart rate, making it a less reliable measurement.
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