Your heart rate is how many times your heart beats in one minute. Knowing your heart rate is a crucial way to check in on your heart and be alerted to potential problems.
So how do you know? Checking your pulse is an easy and quick way to get connected with your body and stay heart healthy.
Time Your Ticker
You can check your pulse by placing your pointer and middle fingers on the inside of your opposite wrist, just below the thumb. Another way is to feel for your windpipe, underneath the left side of your jaw. Once you can feel your pulse, count the number of beats you feel in 15 seconds and multiply that number by four to get your heart rate.
Next to Normal
In general, a normal adult heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. But age, your typical fitness routine, your emotional state, caffeine intake, and even whether you’re sitting down or standing up can affect your heart rate.
Typically, a lower heart rate is an indicator of good health. If you are having consistently high numbers, or symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or chest pain, it’s time to visit a doctor.
Build a Baseline
No, not the bass line from Another One Bites the Dust. Your resting heart rate is just that: your beats per minute while you’re calm and sitting down. Figuring out your resting heart rate will help you realize when something isn’t quite right.
Your pulse is an important gauge on your heart health and always changing as you age. Check your pulse once a week and find your baseline.
Work your Workout
Now that you know your heart rate, it’s time to make it work for you. Check your pulse throughout exercising and see if you can hit your target heart rate. Your age subtracted from 220 is your maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate for moderate exercise is 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate, and for vigorous exercise it’s 70% to 85%. Work to consistently stay in your target heart rate range while working out and see how that translates to your resting levels. Lowering your heart rate can prevent obesity and improve your energy.
Listen to your heart and hear what it tells you. Checking your pulse tells you what’s going on with your heart, and ways to help keep it beating. And for more reasons you—or the women in your life—should care about heart health, read here.