You can measure your heart rate with just your fingers and a stopwatch. But there are other, more accurate methods, so let’s take a look over them.
It is important to keep track of your heart rate because you will get a better understanding of your health, fitness level, and you will know if there is any problem with your heart’s functionality.
There are two major things you need to take into consideration when it comes to your heart rate:
Your heart rate is your pulse, which is the number that measures how many times your heart beats in a minute. This number can vary and depend on certain things you are doing.
When you are active, exercise, or under stressful situations your heart will beat faster. This goes the other way around too. When you are inactive and at rest, your heart will beat slower.
Typically, a normal heart rate for an adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute.
You can use just your fingers for measuring your pulse or you can use a machine that is specially made for measuring the heart rate.
How To Measure Your Heart Rate Using Your Fingers
There are two places on your body where you can use your fingers to measure the pulse. You can get a pretty accurate reading from the wrist or the neck.
Checking The Pulse At The Neck
Here’s how to do it:
- Slightly press your fingers (index and middle) against the side of your neck, right below the jawline.
- Count the number of beats that take place in 15 seconds, and then multiply that number by four. The resulting number will be your heart rate
Checking The Pulse At The Wrist
- Slightly press the index and middle finger of your right hand onto your left wrist, just below the base of the thumb.
- Again, you need to multiply by four the number of pulses you get in 15 seconds. This will be your heart rate.
To make sure that the number you are getting be taking your pulse is the most accurate, you need to repeat the process a few times.
Let’s say you take your pulse 3 times. In this case, take the average number resulting from this as your heart rate.
To make sure that your heart rate is precise, there are a few things you need to consider:
- Never measure your heart rate within one or two hours after any stressful event or after exercising. Your heart rate will stay raised after any intense activity.
- When you are consuming caffeine you need to wait at least an hour before you take your pulse. This is because caffeine can usually cause heart palpitation making your heart rate stay elevated.
- Your heart rate can also be affected after a long period of standing or sitting around. So make sure you take your pulse afterward.
Check Your Pulse Using Heart Monitors
There are a number of devices that can be used for measuring your heart rate. But if you are using a heart rate monitor, you need to know that not all of them are tested for accuracy.
1. Chest Heart Rate Monitor
The best and the most reliable heart rate trackers use a small wireless sensor positioned on a strap wrapped around your chest.
This sensor will detect your pulse electronically, and the data will be sent to your wristwatch that will display the heart rate.
2. Smart Wristwatches
You can also use wristwatches that have certain sensors for measuring pulse. These will be slightly less accurate in reading your pulse because they will measure your blood flow through the skin.
3. Apps That Use Yor Phone’s Camera
You can also check your heart rate using a variety of smartphone apps. Most of these apps use only your fingerprint for determining your pulse.
You just need to place your finger on the camera that will observe any color changes in your finger each time your heart will beat.
4. Gym Equipment
There is also fitness equipment that can also be used for this purpose. Several elliptical machines, treadmills, and a few other pieces of fitness equipment that we can find in the gym can be used to measure our heart rate.
The handgrip feature that you can find on these fitness machines is usually the one used in your pulse checking.
Now you know the basics of measuring your heart rate. The most important thing you need to know is that the average resting heart rate should be 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Elevated And Slow Heart Rate Meaning
Too slow heart rate can be an indicator of:
- Heart diseases;
- Heart attack;
- High potassium levels in the blood;
- And even a slow functioning thyroid.
But if you are in a good shape, you can have a slow heart rate because of certain medications, a lack of sleep, or not enough physical activity.
Too fast heart rates can be an indicator of:
- Heart problems;
- Asthma or other breathing problems;
- Thyroid problems.
But if you are pregnant, physically active, stressed, or even excited, all these situations can also affect your heart rate.
A few tips that will keep your heart rate under control will include:
- Reducing the intake of caffeine and nicotine;
- Hydrating before, during, and after exercising;
- Regularly going for long walks;
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet;
Staying hydrated and reducing the alcohol intake will also contribute to your heart rate stabilization.
Hopefully, this article will help you better understand how you can accurately measure your heart rate with and without special devices.