When And How You Should Measure Your Heart Rate

Even though it’s something that few of us pay close attention to, your heart rate is an important indicator of your overall health. 

Modern heart rate monitoring devices are now widely available to the public in the form of consumer grade electronics. These technologies empower consumers to keep a closer focus on their health by tracking their heart rate, collecting data which can inform their health decisions and be shared with their physician to improve their treatment.

While it is easier than ever for anyone to measure their heart rate, this raises a new question: who should bother keeping track of their heart rate?

When Should You Worry About Your Heart Rate?

There are a lot of good reasons to monitor your heart rate. It can help you track your performance and understand your body’s response to exercise. It can help you understand how your body responds to a new diet or medication. It can help encourage you along your journey to weight loss.

Not only that, it can also help you detect anomalies before they become serious.

There are a variety of health conditions which can affect your heart rate. Consistently high heart rates can be an indicator for cardiovascular problems, thyroid conditions, asthma, and more. Consistently slow heart rates have been associated with cardiovascular problems, infections, and other conditions.

Being able to keep track of and understand your heart rate can help you catch early warning signs of changes or anomalies in your body, potentially keeping you ahead of the curve by allowing you to report these results to your doctor.

Use Heart Rate Monitoring Techniques

Once you’re keeping track of your heart rate, there are a variety of techniques you can employ to get the most from your data.

If you’re tracking your heart rate for exercise data, it’s important to collect as much data as you can, especially on the highs and lows. You can crunch these numbers to figure out your average heart rate and compare it to your heart rate during and after exercise.

For those monitoring their heart rate to help with a medical condition or weight loss, it’s a good idea to keep a detailed journal of your heart rate data. Include information about what you did before each reading, such as your diet, exercise, medication, and other relevant details that can impact your heart rate.

Heart Rate Monitoring With ECG Monitor

Using our modern portable ECG heart rate monitor, it has never been easier to keep track of what your heart is up to!

All you have to do is hold your finger tip on the device’s sensor for a few seconds. The ECG monitor’s LCD screen will then display your vitals and your heart rate. You can even sync up with your iPhone or Android device to automatically record this data.

Checking Pulse At The Wrist

If you don’t happen to have a modern ECG heart rate monitor handy, it’s quite easy to record heart rate the old fashioned way!

To check heart rate literally by hand, take the index and middle fingers of one hand and place them lightly on the wrist of another hand just below the thumb.

You don’t need to press firmly at all. Just a gentle touch should allow you to feel the pulse. 

To work out a heart rate, count the number of pulses you feel within 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to get a heart rate in Beats Per Minute (BPM.)

Factors That Affect Heart Rate

Your heart is quite a complicated device. It can be affected by everything from the weather outside to your internal emotional state to what you ate for lunch.

Here are just a few of the many, many things which can affect your heart rate:

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Infections
  • Air temperature
  • Posture
  • Drugs and medication
  • Body weight and size
  • Emotional state

Heart Rate FAQs

1. Is sleeping heart rate supposed to be lower than resting?

Heart rate typically drops to resting or below resting average when sleeping. However, the different stages of sleep can affect heart rate, causing sleeping heart rate to vary widely. Some conditions such as sleep apnea can also affect heart rate while sleeping.

2. How do you monitor your heart rate?

The easiest way to monitor your heart rate is with a modern portable ECG device. These allow you to record your heart rate by simply holding your finger on a sensor. If you don’t have such a device, you can read a person’s heart rate by taking their pulse from their wrist or neck.

3. What can your pulse (heart rate) tell you?

Your heart rate gives you a real time look at how your heart is doing. It can be used to measure your overall health, track how your body responds to stimulus such as exercise, and provide an early warning signal for certain health conditions.

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