Apart from doctors, heart beats are also measured by athletes in order to gain maximum efficiency from their training programs.
As most of you know, heart rates (number of heart beats per unit of time) are measured by determining the pulse of the body. This is done by placing the index and the middle finger at any point on the body where an artery's pulsation is transmitted to the surface.
Places in the body where heart beats can be measured include the temple, behind the knee, the inside of the elbow, the neck and radial artery (branch of the brachial artery beginning below the elbow and extending down the forearm around the wrist and into the palm).
Heart beats can also be measured from the ulnar artery (large artery that branches from the brachial artery to supply the muscles of the forearm and wrist and hand), the groin, posterior tibial artery, middle of dorsum of the foot and the chest, etc.
Normal Heart Beats Per Minute
Normal heart rate may also be referred to as the resting heart rate, the measure of which for an adult is about 60 to 100. In case of a well-trained athlete, the measure is as low as 40 to 60. For an adult, a lower measure of heart beats per minute at rest is indicative of healthy heart function and better cardiovascular state.
Coming to children (ages 6 - 15 years), the normal measure is 70 to 100 beats per minute. It is to be known that several factors are involved in influencing the heart rate. They include air temperature, body size, medication, pregnancy, position the person is in, level of fitness and activity, and emotions, as well.
Normal heart rate may have a wide range of variation, depending on an individual. However, measures which are in the extreme ends, that is too high or too low, may indicate certain underlying problems in the body.
Having a heart rate of over 100 bpm consistently is considered a state of abnormally rapid heart rate; medically known as tachycardia. Its common symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fainting.
A measure below 60 bpm is known as bradycardia; a condition of abnormally slow heart rate. This condition may be accompanied by symptoms such as weakness, chest pains, memory problems, loss of energy and fainting. If you find your heart rate going above or below the normal with a consistent behavior, then it's time you should get in touch with your doctor.
Exercises help condition your heart and stronger heart muscles give lower heart rate values (not so low, of course, as mentioned earlier). When your heart rate decreases to a safe level, this means that your heart is pumping the same amount blood but with lesser effort.
You must also be aware of what is known as the maximum heart rate. This value determines how fast your heart should beat, especially during a workout.
A simple formula to determine this is to subtract your age from 220. For instance, if my age is 25, then the maximum physiological limit as to how fast my heart should beat is (220 - 25 = 195). What most trainers suggest that as a person begins working out, his heart rate during the exercise must not exceed 60 - 70% of his maximum heart rate.
Now you know about how to keep a track of your normal heart rate and if in case it shoots up or dwindles, then always seek the help of a medical professional. Never take chances with the health of your heart and, we won't have to explain why.