How to Find Your Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is an important indicator of your fitness level and overall cardiovascular health. Finding your resting heart rate is simple, and something you can do on your own at home. Once you've tracked your heart rate, you can use the information to help you learn more about your heart and your health. There are several steps you can take to effectively use this information.
Finding Your Resting Heart Rate
Choose the right time.The formula for your resting heart rate is simple: it is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it is at rest. The key to calculating this rate is to make sure that you are actually at rest when you find your heart rate. Try calculating your heart rate first thing in the morning.
- One of the best times to find your resting heart rate is before you even get out of bed in the morning. Right after a good night's sleep is when your heart rate will be the most rested.
- If you forget to measure your heart rate first thing in the morning, you can do it later in the day. Just make sure that you have been sitting calmly for several minutes and not exerting yourself physically.
Gather your supplies.Fortunately, you don't need much in order to track your resting heart rate. Just make sure to have a watch with a second hand to help you keep track of the time. Alternatively, you can use a digital stopwatch.
- Find a quiet place to sit where you will not be distracted.
- If you find yourself unable to concentrate, ask a friend to keep track of time for you.
Check your pulse.Basically, in order to find your resting heart rate, you need to check your pulse. Take your third finger and your index finger and place them gently but firmly on the side of your neck, to the side of your windpipe. You will find your pulse slightly to the left or right from the center of your throat, an inch or so under your chin.
- Count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply that number by 4 and you have your resting heart rate.
- You can also take your pulse on your wrist. Take two fingers and place them on your radial artery. This is located on the thumb side of your wrist, between the bone and the tendon.
Know your numbers.Your heart rate conveys important information about your fitness levels and your overall cardiovascular health. In general, children over the age of ten and adults should have a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute. Remember, these numbers are general, so check with your doctor to see if your heart rate indicates something specific about your health.
- Athletes generally have a lower resting heart rate. If you are a competitive athlete, your resting heart rate may be only 40-60 beats per minute.
Consider important factors.When you are calculating your resting heart rate, it is important to remember that there are many factors that can impact the reading. For example, the temperature of the room, your emotions, and certain medications can all affect your heart rate. Try taking it more than once and averaging the results.
- If your heart rate is consistently more than 100 beats per minute, consult your doctor to see if it is indicative of an underlying problem.
- You should also consult your doctor if your pulse is lower than 60 beats per minute and you are not an athlete.
Using This Information
Find your training heart rate.You can use the same method to find your ideal training heart rate. This is the rate of exertion that you want to work towards when you are exercising to make sure that you are getting cardiovascular benefits. Take your pulse 10 minutes into your workout to find your training heart rate. Each age group has a specific target heart rate that is ideal.
- People between 20-30 years of age have a target heart rate of 100-170 beats per minute. 30-35 year olds should aim for 95-162 beats per minute.
- People who are between 40-50 years of age will have target heart rates of 88-145 beats per minute. If you are 60 or above, your target heart rate will generally be between 75-128 beats per minute.
- Remember that these numbers are general. Ask your doctor if he has a specific recommendation for you.
Get in a routine.Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy and to consistently hit your target heart rate. Make it a habit to get at least 30 minutes of physical exercise most days of the week. Choose an activity that you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it.
- The best exercise programs combine cardio activity and strength training. For example, you could combine swimming with a routine that uses light weights.
- Try a new sport. Sports are a great way to combine exercise with socialization. Join the work softball team or take tennis lessons.
Practice good heart health.There are several ways to keep your heart healthy. One of the best things you can do is to make sure to eat a balanced diet. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. You should also look for healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado.
- Whole grains have been shown to help keep your heart healthy.
- Avoid smoking.
- Consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your heart health.
- Track your heart rate on consecutive days so that you can get a good idea of your average resting heart rate.
Video: How do you lower your resting heart rate?
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