Monitoring Your Heart Rate

By Oscar

Monitoring your heart rate is a way of measuring how hard you are working when you exercise. It can tell you if you are exercising at too low an intensity, too high an intensity or if you are within your target heart range.

There are two basic ways you can monitor your heart rate during exercise. One is manually with your fingers and the other is with a heart-rate monitor.


The most common places to take the heart rate are at the carotid artery (the neck) and the radial artery (the wrist). The carotid artery is located high up on either side of the neck. Put your finger at the outside of your eye and drag it down to the upper part of the neck. Always locate the pulse with your first two fingers, not using the thumb as it has a pulse of its own. The radial pulse can be found on the thumb side of the wrist where the wrist bends. When taking a manual pulse be sure not to press too hard as this can actually alter the rate. Instead, let the pulse beat against your fingers.

Manually taking your pulse during exercise can be difficult and requires some practice because you are moving. The quicker the heart rate, the more difficult it is to take an accurate pulse for a longer period of time. The most common way to count the number of beats per minute is to count for 30 seconds and multiply by two, or 15 seconds and multiply by four, or the quickest but least accurate is six seconds multiplied by ten.

Heart-Rate Monitor

A heart-rate monitor is another way of measuring heart rate by telling you the beats per minute. It will let you know if you are working at too high or low an intensity by beeping. There is a sensor strap that goes over your skin on your torso. You moisten the underside of the sensor strap with water or your saliva, which transmits the electrical activity to the monitor. The monitor straps to your wrist like a watch allowing communication between the strap and the monitor. The monitor will display the number of beats per minute. It is the most accurate way to monitor your heart rate while exercising and is recommended for the avid aerobic participant. There are many makes and models available at many different price ranges.

Now that you know how to determine your heart rate you will need to know how to estimate your maximum heart rate.

Without having a sub-maximum heart rate test done by a professional the next best way is to use the following formula: 220 minus your age equals your maximum heart rate. You can use percentages to find your training zone. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends working at an intensity of 60 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for your most efficient workout. Start counting!

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categoriaHealth commentoComments Off dataSeptember 26th, 2012


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