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Monitoring your Heart Rate – Looking beyond the numbers!

Posted on April 13 2017

Monitoring one’s heart rate used to be reserved for professional athletes till about a few years ago. They were expensive and therefore not worth the investment unless you specifically need the function to either extract the maximum out of your training of push yourself to the breaking point.

Smartphones changed all that. It all began with a certain company including heart rate sensors and SpO2 sensors on their flagship. Soon, we had other companies follow suit and within a couple of years, enter smartwatches and smart wearables.

Smart wearable devices, which include a host of functions like heart rate monitors, step counters etc., are abundant nowadays and accurate to more or less 90-95% when compared to expensive monitors. But wait! Just getting to know your heart rate is not enough… you should know how to interpret the numbers! Here’s how to do it!

What is Heart Rate?

In layman terms, heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in a minute to sustain blood flow to all parts of your body at any given time with you doing something or resting. Needless to say, it will vary and come up as different numbers depending what you are doing.

How can I measure it?

You can but any smart wearable that has a heart rate monitor. If you want to do it the old fashioned way, put the tip of your finger in any one of the pulse points in your body, like the wrist or the throat, and feel the slight ‘thump’. Count the number of times you feel it for 15 seconds, and multiply the result by four. You have your pulse.

What is my average resting pulse?

Your heart rate when you are just awake from a good night sleep, without any nasty dreams or disturbance is your average resting pulse. Measure it for a week and find the average. That is your average resting pulse.

How much is good?

Ideally, adults have a resting pulse of 60 to 100. Athletes and people who work out a lot have a resting range of 40 and above. A lower heart rate indicates that you heart works less strenuously to keep up with whatever you are doing. A low resting pulse in a healthy fit individual indicates a healthy heart. Above 100 is not good, and so is below 60 if it is accompanied by dizziness and fatigue. You should consult your doctor immediately in both the cases.

How high can it go?

Pulse increases as and when we do work, including running, walking or feeling stressed. When working out, it is recommended that you stress till about 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate. Continuous stressing your heart at 100% can be detrimental in the long run and must be avoided.

How to get it low?

If you have a high resting heart rate, there are numerous ways to get it down. We will discuss them in our next interaction!

Now that you are much more aware about how you should interpret your heart rate, go ahead and make the changes your body deserves! Good luck!

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