Your Heart Rate
What Is Your Pulse?
Your pulse is your heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Heart rates vary from person to person. Your pulse is lower when you’re at rest and higher when you exercise.
Knowing how to take your pulse can help you evaluate your exercise program. If you are taking heart medications, recording your pulse daily and reporting the results to your doctor can help him see if your treatment is working.
How Do I Take My Pulse?
- Place the tips of your index and middle finger on the palm side of your other wrist, below the base of the thumb. Or place the tips of your index and middle finger on your lower neck, on either side of your windpipe.
- Press lightly with your fingers until you feel the blood pulsing beneath your fingers. You may need to move your fingers around until you feel the pulsing.
- Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six to get your heart rate (or pulse) per minute.
What Is a Normal Pulse?
A normal resting heart rate is usually 60-100 beats per minute. Your number may vary. Children tend to have higher resting heart rates than adults.
What Is Maximum Heart Rate?
The maximum heart rate is, on average, the highest your pulse can get. To calculate your predicted maximum heart rate, use this formula:
220 - Your Age = Predicted Maximum Heart Rate
For example, a 40-year-old's predicted maximum heart rate is about 180 beats per minute.
Your actual maximum heart rate can be determined by a graded exercise test. If you are taking medicines or have a medical condition (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes), ask your doctor if your maximum heart rate (and target heart rate) should be adjusted.
What Is Target Heart Rate?
You gain the most benefits when you exercise in your ''target heart rate zone.'' Usually, this is when your exercise heart rate (pulse) is 60%-80% of your maximum heart rate. In some cases, your doctor may decrease your target heart rate zone to begin with 50%.