Or you can 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.
To check your heart rate while exercising:
- After exercising for about 10 minutes, stop
and take your pulse.
- Measure your heart rate by placing two
fingers gently against your wrist (don't use your thumb). If it is hard to feel
the pulse in your wrist, find the artery in your neck that is just to either
side of the windpipe. Press gently.
- Count the beats for 15 seconds.
Multiply the number of beats by 4. This is your beats per minute.
- Make changes in how hard you exercise so that
your heart rate stays within the range of your target heart rate.
Target heart rate is only a guide. Everyone 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.
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
- 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
- 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
- Are moving too much while trying to take your
What To Think About
Many people take their pulse during or right after exercise,
to check their heart rate and to find out if they are exercising at a healthy
pace. Your heart rate (pulse) during and after exercise will be higher than
your resting heart rate.
Call your doctor if your heart rate does
not come down within a few minutes after you have stopped exercising.
As you continue to exercise regularly, your heart rate will not rise as
high as it once did with the same amount of effort. This is a sign that you are
becoming more fit. To learn more, see the topic