Heart Rate: Keep It Up For a Healthy Heart
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Your heart rate increases with physical activity. Moderate to intense cardiovascular exercise is a great way to keep your heart rate up and keep your heart in optimum condition at the same time. Your heart rate is measured as the number of beats that your heart makes per minute. Your heart expands and contracts more when you exercise or exert yourself physically.
Your heart rate can be measured at the wrist, neck, temple, groin, behind the knees, or on top of the foot. These parts of the body are used to measure heart rate because they are areas where a major artery comes close to the skin. Most often, heart rate is measured at your wrist. To measure your heart rate at the wrist, place your index and middle finger over the underside of the opposite wrist, below the thumb. Press firmly with your fingers flat on your wrist until you feel your pulse. To measure the pulse on your neck, place your index and middle finger adjacent to your Adam's apple. Press your fingers firmly in this area until you can locate your pulse.
To measure your actual heart rate, once you find your pulse, record the beats for one minute, or for thirty seconds and multiply this number by two. This will give the beats per minute – your heart rate. Your doctor will periodically measure your heart rate to collect important information about your heart health. Any deviation from a normal heart rate can indicate an underlying medical condition, including a heart condition that may not have been detectable otherwise. A above average heart rate may be a warning sign of a viral or bacterial infection or a case of dehydration. In critical situations, measuring the heart rate by obtaining a pulse can determine if the heart is still pumping.
As a measure, your heart rate has other practical uses as well. When you exercise or immediately after you finish exercising, your heart rate provides important data about the state of your physical fitness and heart health. Your resting heart rate is the rate at which your heart beats when you are sedentary, or not exercising or exerting yourself in any way. A normal resting heart rate for adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute, depending on the person. Infants typically have a resting heart rate of between 100 and 160 beats per minute, and children up to 10 years maintain a resting heart rate of 70 to 120 beats per minute. Professional athletes who are in peak condition often have resting heart rates between 40 to 60 beats per minute because their heart is much more efficient due to substantial levels of exercise.
Resting heart rates that are high can indicate heart problems and must be taken very seriously. If you have an abnormally high resting heart rate, you should contact your health care provider for diagnosis. Resting heart rates that are significantly below normal are also a cause for concern and should also be discussed with your health care provider.