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July 23, 2021

What you need to know about heart rate

Adult Health Heart Health

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Anatomy of human heart Rasi Bhadramani/

Do you know your resting heart rate? Go ahead and take your pulse to find out: sit down, relax for 10 minutes, and put your index and middle finger on your opposite wrist. You should be able to push flat with your fingers until you feel the pulse. Count the beats you feel for a minute to get your resting heart rate.

Now that you know what your resting heart rate is, here’s everything else you need to know to keep your heart healthy:

What’s a normal heart rate?

Heart rates change as you age. For adults, a normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Did yours fall within that range? A well-trained athlete has a heart rate as low as 40 to 60 beats per minutes, while young children have faster heart rates.

How to maintain a healthy heart rate

Exercise strengthens the heart and trains it to work more efficiently, which reduces the number of beats it needs each minute to move blood around your body. Just 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week can help ensure your resting heart rate stays in a healthy range.

Should heart rate change?

Exertion will change your heart rate ; try going for a short run, and then taking your pulse. You will see much higher heart rates. It takes time for your heart rate to return to normal after exercise, but the stronger your heart is, the more quickly it will return to a resting rate.

What to do about a high or low heart rate

The range of normal heart rates is pretty large, but if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute or below 60 beats per minute (and you are not a trained athlete), you should consult your doctor. Any type of issue with electrical signals that cause your heart to beat outside of a normal range is called arrhythmia. Tachycardia is when your heart is beating too fast, and Bradycardia is when your heart beats too slow.

Other heart rate abnormalities

If your pulse feels strong and throbbing or irregular, you should monitor your heart rate closely and talk to your doctor about what you're feeling. The most common arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation (AF). You may not feel many symptoms if you have AF, but some people experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, and chest pains. There are medications to help create a normal heart rate in people with arrhythmia.

Risk factors for heart issues

There are risk factors that should prompt you to speak with your doctor: if you have diabetes, smoke cigarettes, have sleep apnea, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, or a family history of heart problems, contact a health care provider right away if your heart beat seems abnormal.

Remember, your heart rate is not your blood pressure! Heart rate measures how fast your heart is beating, while blood pressure is the force of blood moving in your body. Make sure you regularly monitor both to maintain a healthy heart.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have, or suspect that you have, a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

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