Heart Rate: What You Should Know About

Knowledge of your heart rate can help ensure a healthy and

fit body. Read further and learn more about your heart rate.

There are many electronic devices, such as wristwatches and outdoor gadgets, which are capable of reading one’s heart rate. These sophisticated devices can sense and display a person’s heart rate, either at rest or during activity. Usually, athletes and outdoor enthusiasts are the ones who use these gadgets. But even if you’re not an athlete, knowing your heart rate is essential. It can help monitor your fitness level and even detect health problems as they arise.

What is heart rate?

Heart rate, also called pulse, refers to the number of times the heart beats per minute. It is considered a vital sign and is an important heart-health parameter. Although there are established average pulse rates for certain ages, the normal heart rate may vary from person to person.

Changes in the rate and rhythm of the pulse may mean a heart condition or other health conditions that needs further evaluation. If you know your baseline heart rate and rhythm, you can easily notice major changes, and even subtle variances.

How do you get the pulse rate?

There are specific body parts where you can find your pulse. These include:

  • side of your neck (carotid pulse)
  • inside of the elbow (brachial pulse)
  • wrists (radial pulse)
  • top of the foot (pedal pulse)

Heart Rate, What You Should Know AboutTo get an accurate reading of your pulse, place your finger lightly over your pulse and count the number of beats in one-full minute.

When you are at rest, relaxed, calm and have no illness, the pulse rate is normally between 60 to 100 beats per minute. However, a heart that is above or below the normal range does not automatically mean there is a medical problem. It can be due to use of certain drugs or health supplement. It is also common among people who are very active. This is because their heart muscles are in better condition, thus they do not need to pump harder to maintain blood circulation. Moreover, engaging in physical activity would not usually change the resting pulse that much.

Factors that may affect the heart rate

  • Body position: The heart rate may change as you stand during the first 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Air temperature: The pulse rate may increase by up to 10 beats per minute as the air becomes cooler or more humid.
  • Emotions: Extreme emotions (anxious, stressed, or happy) can raise the heart rate.
  • Medication use: Some medications and health supplements can alter the pulse.
  • Body built: Although body size doesn’t normally affect the pulse, morbidly obese people may have higher than normal heart rate.

Unusual changes in your baseline heart rate, such as very low or very fast heart rates, accompanied by dizziness, weakness or fainting, may warrant medical evaluation.

Know how to take your pulse and have a healthy heart. Enroll in a basic first aid course and learn about how to measure the heart rate.

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