The heart rate, or the pulse, is the number of times the heart beats per minute. The normal heart rate is different from one person to another; however, it is important for a person to know how to know his heart rate, since it is one of the most important heart-health gauge and overall health indicator, along with respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature.

According to New York University School of Medicine and American Heart Association (AHA) volunteer Richard Stein, a person’s age may dictate a change in the rate and regularity of the pulse, which may also indicate a heart condition or other medical condition that may need immediate assessment, intervention, and evaluation.

The heart rate can be best found on the wrist area, inside the elbow, side of the neck, and top of the foot, according to the American Heart Association. As per the publication, putting a person’s finger over his pulse and counting the number of beats in 60 seconds allows one to obtain the most accurate reading.

College of Medicine cardiologist and Professor Gerald Fletcher told Mayo Clinic that before a person calculates and monitors his target training heart rate, he has to decipher his resting heart rate. It can be checked in the morning after waking up and prior going to bed at night.

In figuring out the target heart rate, a person takes his pulse on the thumb side of the inside part of his wrist. Then, the tips of the pointing and the middle finger are used to press lightly over the blood vessels on the wrist. After that, the pulse is counted for ten seconds and then multiplied by six to determine the beats per minute. It is recommended to stay within 50 to 85 percent of one’s maximum heart rate, as this range is the target heart rate.

Target heart rates also vary with age. In fact, the maximum heart rate is the difference between 220 and a person’s age. For instance, a 20 year old person has a target heart range of 100 to 170 beats per minute and an average maximum heart rate of 200 beats per minute. It should also be taken into account that heart rate while performing activities with moderate intensity is nearly 50 to 69 percent of one’s maximum heart rate while the heart rate when performing hard physical activities is about 70 to 90 percent of one’s maximum heart rate.

When a person is not exercising, the heart pumps the lowest volume of blood. This yields the resting heart rate. In other positions, such as sitting or lying, the normal heart rate is usually between 60 per minute and 100 beats per minute. It is also important to note that the heart rate is assumed to be within range when a person feels calm and relaxed.

According to Mayo Clinic, a lower heart rate at rest suggests that the heart is functioning more efficiently, in addition to a stable cardiovascular fitness. A case in point is a well-trained athlete with a normal resting rate near to 40 beats per minute.

Heart rate is affected by several factors, which include body position like standing up, sitting, to lying down; fitness level; activity level, air temperature, body size, emotions, and medication intake.

If a person feels weak or dizzy, along with a sense of fainting, one should not hesitate to contact the physician for further assessment and medical advice. In addition, medical advice is also necessary for people who are taking medications for high blood pressure, for them to know if they need to use a lower target heart rate.

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