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A full continuum of cardiac care, see our list of cardiology services.
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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

How Do You Measure Your Heart Rate?

August 17, 2021

Your heart rate is a good indication of your heart health. Heart rate refers to the number of heartbeats that occur in a minute. To make sure that your heart remains in optimal condition, you have to monitor your heart rate regularly. So, how do you measure your heart rate? We’re going to find out.

Your heart circulates oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. When it's not working properly, your whole body can be affected. Heart rate is at the center of this process because the function of the heart (called "cardiac output") is directly related to heart rate and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out with each beat).

A good heart rate shows that your heart is healthy and functioning efficiently, and you are less vulnerable to heart disease. That’s why it’s important to keep track of yours. Let’s find out how to do it.

What Is A Normal Heart Rate?

A normal heart rate for adults is typically 60 to 100 beats per minute.

If your heart rate is low (below 60 beats per minute) you have Bradycardia. Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart doesn't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body, or it could mean that your heart is in tip-top shape. An athlete who has a very well-conditioned body can have a heart rate that is below 50 bpm.

When your heart rate is too fast, it’s called tachycardia. For adults, a fast heart rate is generally defined as a heart rate over 100 beats per minute.

There are many reasons why your heart rate could be fast including fatigue, anxiety, or an underlying health condition. This is another reason to keep tabs on your heart rate.

Measure Your Resting Heart Rate

When you are trying to determine your heart health, it is the resting heart rate that you have to measure.

A resting heart rate is the rate at which your heart beats when your body is at rest. Checking your resting heart rate will provide important information about your cardiovascular health, fitness level, and overall health.

If your body is well-conditioned, your heart needs to exert less effort and make fewer beats to pump blood throughout your body. Resting heart rate is best measured in the morning after your body is well-rested from a good night’s sleep.

Best Place To Check Your Heart Rate

You can measure your heart rate at various points on your body, including wrist, temple, neck, groin, foot, and others. Usually, the preferred place to measure heart rate is the wrist.

Here’s how to measure your heart rate at your wrist:

  1. Place your index and middle fingers on the underside of your other wrist, below your thumb.
  2. Press your fingers firmly on the pulse point to feel the pulse and count the number of beats made in one minute. You can also record the beats for thirty seconds and then multiply the total by two. Or count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply that number by four.

How to measure heart rate at the neck:

  1. At the neck, lightly press the side of the neck, just below your jawbone.
  2. Press your fingers firmly on the pulse point to feel the pulse and count the number of beats made in one minute. Count the number of beats in one minute.

 Remember, your heart should be beating at 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Take Charge of Your Health

Whether you are checking your heart rate at home or going to see your doctor, it’s very important to take charge of your own health.

A great way to ensure your heart is pumping optimally includes many non-invasive ways to have it checked out. Our guide titled “Cardiology Tests That Keep Hearts Health” can help. In fact, one of the tests mentioned will let you know if you’re at risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years.

How to tell if you'll have a heart attack