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How to measure your heart rate (with these devices)



Your heart rate, also known as heart rate, indicates how often your heart beats per minute.

Your heart rate can be a valuable tool to monitor your health and fitness status, even if you are not a serious athlete. It can also help to determine the intensity of the training, to make sure that you get the most out of your training and help you to continuously improve.

Knowing and monitoring your heart rate may be more likely to detect current or health problems such as arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) or tachycardia (abnormally high heart rate).

How to Measure Different Types of Heart Rate

There are four different heart rate measurements you should know. They all have a firm place in monitoring health and fitness, but your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate are the two most important.

Resting heart rate

Your resting heart rate is the rate at which your heart beats when you do nothing. When you're not exercising or moving, your heart pumps the least amount of blood you need to survive and fill up on your body.

  11-Apple Watch Series-4-Larger-44mm

The Apple Watch measures your heartbeat throughout the day.


Sarah Tew / CNET

The average resting heart rate is 60 to 80 beats per minute. However, this is different: it is usually lower among people who exercise frequently and in people who are relatively sedentary. The resting heart rate often increases with age, when you are ill or when you are stressed or anxious.

Measuring the Resting Heart Rate

To determine your resting heart rate at the old school, just count how often your heart beats in a minute. Your reading will be more accurate if you measure it in the morning before you leave the bed. To measure your resting heart rate, follow these steps:

  • Choose a place where you can feel your pulse. The best places to find your pulse are the wrists, the inside of your elbows, the tips of your toes and the side of your neck, just under your jaw.
  • Place two fingers on the impulse and count the number of strokes you feel in 60 seconds.

Use a stopwatch during this process because it is unlikely that you can count both the heartbeat and the seconds in your head. Counting for a full 60 seconds provides the most accurate result. However, you can count 30 seconds and multiply that number by two.

For example, if I count 30 pulses in 30 seconds, I would multiply that by two to get 60 for my resting heart rate.


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Maximum Heart Rate

Your maximum heart rate is a measure of your heart's maximum heart rate. The average maximum heart rate varies greatly depending on age, fitness level and other factors such as health status and genetics.

The easiest way to estimate your maximum heart rate is to do a simple math calculation. Subtract your age from 220 to get a maximum heart rate predicted with age.

The 220-minus age formula is the traditional method of measuring maximum heart rate and is still widely used. However, this equation is considered inaccurate by some scientists, and now a revised formula is often used: 208 -0.7 x your age.

Note that none of the calculations takes into account your fitness level, genes, or other factors. For this reason, the standard deviation is 10 to 20 beats per minute. That is, your true maximum heart rate may be 10 to 20 beats per minute higher or lower than the difference in these equations.

Heart Rate Reserve

The heart rate reserve refers to the difference between your maximum heart rate and your resting heart rate. The heart rate reserve is most commonly used to estimate a person's ideal training zones – high performance athletes use these zones to optimize their training.

To measure heart rate reserve, do the following:

  • Determine your resting heart rate using the above method, or use data from an activity tracker or other device (more on this below).
  • Estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.
  • Subtract your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate to determine your heart rate reserve.

For example, my resting heart rate is 58 beats per minute, based on the average my Fitbit gives me. My maximum heart rate is 198 (I'm 22 years old, so I used 220 minus 22).

My heart rate reserve – maximum heart rate minus resting heart rate (198-58) – is 148. [19659035] Play now:
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Target Heart Rate

The target heart rate is often used interchangeably with the heart rate reserve because it is used for similar purposes but is actually different. Your target heart rate is generally defined as 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This area is considered the best area for fat burning for exercise.

50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate is moderate intensity training, and 70 to 85 percent is vigorous exercise. To determine the target heart rate, simply multiply your maximum heart rate by .50 and .85.

Example: My maximum heart rate is 198 (based on the 220 minus age formula).

  • 198 x 0.50 = 99
  • 198 x 0.85 = 168.3

My target heart rate during exercise is between 99 beats per minute and about 170 beats per minute. Remember that the ideal training zones differ from person to person.

For example, I know that I can train continuously at the top of my target heart rate zone, but I've been riding long distances for years and doing CrossFit. A beginner should start at the lower end of the target heart rate range and increase the intensity as his fitness improves.

Best Heart Rate Monitor

Now you know all types of heart rate and know how to measure it with watches and math. Although traditional methods are not that difficult, there are simpler and potentially more accurate ways to measure and track your heart rate.

The most accurate measurements, of course, come from a laboratory test or another clinical method . However, since most people do not have access to these methods and do not need them, these devices work properly.

Activity Tracker or Smartwatch

Activity Tracker are easily the most convenient way to measure your heart rate. They are relatively cheap they do not take up much space and have a considerable battery life. Best of all, activity trackers are comfortable enough over a long period of time to get a very accurate heart rate reading.

Using a Fitbit, Apple Watch Garmin or another tracker, you can measure your heart rate at any time of the day: If you sleep while doing typical activities while exercising you will present that data to you easily digestible. Activity trackers and smartwatches use optical technology to read the pulse in your wrist. With optical technology, your tracker sends light into your skin and reads the re-emerging light.

The Apple Watch Series 4 can even generate a PDF of your heart rhythm that you can share with your doctor.

Chest Straps

Chest heart monitors are probably the most economical way to measure your heart rate – they are generally cheaper than smartwatches and other methods. Chest straps work by reading the small electrical signal your body sends as your heart contracts. They tend to be more accurate than smart watches, but have some disadvantages.

Chest straps can be uncomfortable because they wrap around your sternum. If they relax during exercise, they may slip, shift or rub. It is difficult to adjust a chest strap during exercise, so a faulty belt can cause problems when you are in the middle of a marathon or competition.

In addition, a chest strap does not provide visual feedback during exercise, as is the case with a smartwatch or fitness tracker, unless you have a Bluetooth-connected tracker elsewhere on your body.

Headphones

One of the newer methods of measuring your heart rate is the use of sports headphones. Many brands now offer headphones with built-in optical heart rate trackers. Headphones with heart rate monitors are generally more expensive than other types of monitors, but it's worth it if you still need new headphones.

Headphone heart rate monitors are an excellent option if you want to measure your heart rate comfortably and accurately during exercise. However, it is doubtful that they can sleep comfortably, so it would be difficult to get a picture of your resting heart rate with this type of device.

When should a specialist be informed about the heart rate?

Certain medications or heart rate irregularities may warrant a visit to your doctor. For example, many people who take beta-blockers (to lower blood pressure) will be asked by their doctor to monitor and record heart rate. If you control your heart rate, it may be helpful for your doctor to determine the dosage or other treatment.

If your heart rate is very low, very high, or frequently changes between the two, tell your doctor. Your heart rate is a revealing tool for the status of your health and fitness level. Always ask a doctor before starting a training program.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health or medical advice. Always ask a doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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