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Calculating Heart Rate

Page history last edited by Helena Baert 11 years, 2 months ago

Calculating your Heart Rate 

 

What is your pulse?

Your pulse is your heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Pulse rates vary from person to person. Your pulse is lower when you are at rest and increases when you exercise (because more oxygen-rich blood is needed by the body when you exercise).

Knowing how to take your pulse can help you evaluate your exercise program.

 

How to take your pulse

1. Place the tips of your index, second, and third fingers on the palm side of your other wrist, below the base of the thumb. Or, place the tips of your index and second fingers on your lower neck, on either side of your windpipe. (See the illustrations to the right.)

2. Press lightly with your fingers until you feel the blood pulsing beneath your fingers. You might need to move your fingers around slightly up or down until you feel the pulsing.

3. Use a watch with a second hand, or look at a clock with a second hand.

4. Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six to get your heart rate (pulse) per minute.

Check your pulse: _______________ x 6 = ________________

                          (beats in 10 seconds)          (your pulse)

What is a normal pulse?

Age Group

Normal Heart Rate at Rest

Children (ages 6-15) 70-100 beats per minute
Adults (age 18 and over) 60-100 beats per minute

 

 

What is maximum heart rate?

The maximum heart rate is the highest your pulse rate can get. To calculate your predicted maximum heart rate, use this formula:

220 - Your Age = Predicted Maximum Heart Rate

Example: a 40-year-old's predicted maximum heart rate is 180.

Your actual maximum heart rate can be determined by a graded exercise test.

Please note that some medicines and medical conditions might affect your maximum heart rate. If you are taking medicines or have a medical condition (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes), always ask your doctor if your maximum heart rate/target heart rate will be affected.  If so, your heart rate ranges for exercise should be prescribed by your doctor or an exercise specialist.

 

Target heart rate

You gain the most benefits and lessen the risks when you exercise in your target heart rate zone. Usually this is when your exercise heart rate (pulse) is 60 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. In some cases, your health care provider might decrease your target heart rate zone to begin with 50 percent.

Do not exercise above 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This increases both cardiovascular and orthopaedic risk and does not add any extra benefit.

Always check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program. Your health care provider can help you find a program and target heart rate zone that match your needs, goals, and physical condition.

When beginning an exercise program, you might need to gradually build up to a level that is within your target heart rate zone, especially if you have not exercised regularly before. If the exercise feels too hard, slow down. You will reduce your risk of injury and enjoy the exercise more if you don't try to over-do it.

To find out if you are exercising in your target zone (between 60 percent and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate), stop exercising and check your 10-second pulse. If your pulse is below your target zone (see the chart below), increase your rate of exercise. If your pulse is above your target zone, decrease your rate of exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Rates

Age

Recommended
 Exercise Heart Rate

Absolute
Maximum
Rate

Minimum

Maximum

15

123

164

205

16

122

163

204

17

122

162

203

18

121

162

202

19

121

161

201

20

120

160

200

21

119

159

199

22

119

158

198

23

118

158

197

24

118

157

196

25

117

156

195

26

116

155

194

27

116

154

193

28

115

154

192

29

115

153

191

30

114

152

190

31

113

151

189

32

113

150

188

33

112

150

187

34

112

149

186

35

111

148

185

36

110

147

184

37

110

146

183

38

109

146

182

39

109

145

181

40

108

144

180

41

107

143

179

42

107

142

178

43

106

142

177

44

106

141

176

45

105

140

175

46

104

139

174

47

104

138

173

48

103

138

172

49

103

137

171

50

102

136

170

51

101

135

169

52

101

134

168

53

100

134

167

54

100

133

166

55

99

132

165

56

98

131

164

57

98

130

163

58

97

130

162

59

97

129

161

60

96

128

160

61

95

127

159

62

95

126

158

63

94

126

157

64

94

125

156

65

93

124

155

66

92

123

154

67

92

122

153

68

91

122

152

69

91

121

151

70

90

120

150

71

89

119

149

72

89

118

148

73

88

118

147

74

88

117

146

75

87

116

145

76

86

115

144

77

86

114

143

78

85

114

142

79

85

113

141

80

84

112

140

81

83

111

139

82

83

110

138

83

82

110

137

84

82

109

136

85

81

108

135

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