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A quick internet search about Heart Rate yielded about 2,270,000,000 results (0.60 seconds). Wow!
If truth be told most of us want to be a lot fitter than we are. It is something we should all be aiming for, a better level of fitness. So, where do we all start? Well, that Google search revealed too many pages to provide a good and reliable source of information. And there is a great deal of information provided on TV channels, books, newspapers, and countless fitness DVDs.
Honestly, there will always be something out there that will help, or maybe you can take a little information from each one to build your own fitness regime.
Are there any benefits to being fitter? Guess what the answer is. Yes, being fitter is better. Fitter equals less body fat as this is something that is burnt off during exercise and exercise is how you become fitter. You could just diet to become slimmer but your chances of losing weight will be much greater if you exercise as well as diet.
A fitter person has a lower heart rate which improves your well-being. Since you will be breathing harder during exercise, this will increase your lung function so you will enable your body to absorb more oxygen to feed your brain and muscles.
Why Knowing Your Heart Rate Matters
Millions of adults buy fitness trackers to measure the steps they walk and the calories they consume. Meanwhile, they may ignore an important benchmark that’s available for free and practically at our fingertips.
That is your heart rate! Specifically, knowing how many times your heart beats per minute and the variance between beats. Keeping track of your heart rate can give insight into your fitness level, and heart and emotional health plus managing many medical conditions.
Such valuable information can also motivate you to make changes, so you stay healthy as you age. Learn more about your heart rate and what it means for your present and future well-being.
Understanding Your Heart Rate
Focus On Trends
Individual heart rates vary widely and often change from day to day. Focus on long-term patterns, so you can spot any significant changes over time.
For most people, it is considered normal to have a resting heart rate — when the heart is pumping the lowest amount of blood you need — between 60 and 100 beats per minute, according to the American Heart Association. Yet, many studies suggest that avoiding the upper range could help you live longer.
A consistently high resting heart rate can be a sign that your heart isn’t working as efficiently as it could be.
Take Your Pulse
The pulse rate is a measurement of the heart rate or the number of times the heart beats per minute. As the heart pushes blood through the arteries, the arteries expand and contract with the flow of the blood. Taking a pulse not only measures the heart rate but also can indicate the following – Heart rhythm.
One of the easiest ways to measure your heart rate is to place your index and middle finger under your thumb. Once you find the throbbing spot, count the beats for 30 seconds and multiply by two.
Alternatively, press the first (index) finger and middle finger of your other hand on the inside of your wrist, at the base of your thumb – don’t use your thumb as it has its own pulse. Press your skin lightly until you can feel your pulse – if you cannot find it, try pressing it a little harder or move your fingers around.
Break It Down
In general, you want to lower your resting heart rate and increase your maximum heart rate. Find your resting rate by taking your pulse before you get out of bed in the morning. Your maximum rate is the most your heart can pump, which is around 220 minus your age.
This means a 35-year-old should raise their heart rate to 185 for a workout to be most effective. If you find that you cannot hold a normal conversation during your workout then you are pushing too fast and should slow down.
Huffing and puffing mean your body is not getting enough oxygen. As you work out more, you will find yourself able to push harder and faster. To get a good workout you do not need to join an expensive gym. Gyms offer aerobics classes weight training and bikes and treadmills for cardio workouts. But you can get just the same workout with a workout DVD and a fast-paced walk two or three times a week.
Increase Your HRV
The time between each heartbeat fluctuates, depending on factors like physical exertion and emotion. A high level of heart rate variability (HRV) indicates a strong and resilient heart that recovers from stress quickly.
Low HRV means there is less variability between heartbeats, or in other words, there is a uniform spacing between each heartbeat. This is an indication that your body is underperforming in the face of stress, whether from over-exercise, illness or pain, or psychological events.
Monitor Blood Pressure
The only way of constantly keeping track of your blood pressure is with the help of a blood pressure monitor. While high blood pressure is often associated with a high resting heart rate, they are two different things. Blood pressure refers to how much force your blood exerts against the walls of your blood vessels.
But be careful if you are going to acquire a blood pressure monitor because there are many types and models available. So, you have to find the ones that suit you best.
When suffering from high blood pressure it is very important to monitor how the values of your blood pressure change during the day. This way you will have an active role in taking care of your own health and it will be very easy to determine what kind of treatment you need.
The price of a digital blood pressure monitor is not high and they are quite easy to use. When you have just bought one, the best thing to do is to visit your doctor and he should be able to instruct you on how to use the blood pressure monitor. It is important to do this; otherwise, you may perform inaccurate measurements which should be avoided.
Consult Your Doctor
When should you see a doctor about your heart? You should consult your doctor when you have shortness of breath, palpitations, or dizziness. A cardiologist can determine if a heart condition is a cause. These symptoms may be a sign of abnormal heart rhythm or coronary artery disease.
Your doctor can help you understand how your heart rate and other factors affect your individual health. For example, you may be prescribed drugs called beta blockers that target stress hormones in order to lower both your heart rate and blood pressure.
Developing Heart-Healthy Habits
How much: Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
Examples: Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis, and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the kind that doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.
Training makes your heart pump more efficiently.
Diet is key to preventing and managing heart and circulatory disease. The key is to base your diet around foods that are as close to how they are found in nature as possible. A diet rich in whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Go easy on saturated fats and processed meat.
Rest And Relax
A good night’s sleep is important for a healthy heart. In fact, studies show that poor quality sleep increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and can be a point of concern for those living with cardiovascular disease.
Still wondering whether sleeping rests your heart? Your body temperature drops and your muscles relax. People typically spend about half the night in light sleep. But during the next phase, deep sleep, your blood pressure falls and your heart rate slows to about 20% to 30% below your resting heart rate.
Stress makes your heart work harder. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Take breaks and live mindfully. Meditate daily or develop other relaxation practices.
Water is very critical for your heart health. Your heart is constantly working, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood a day. By staying hydrated – that is, by drinking more water than you are losing – you are helping your heart do its job.
Drinking water enhances your circulation. So, carry a bottle with you to sip throughout the day.
But just how much water should you drink for a healthy heart? Research suggests men have about 3.7 liters daily. That is about 15, 8-ounce glasses. Women should have about 2.7 liters or 11 glasses.
Quitting smoking lowers your risk of getting and dying from heart disease. Over time, quitting lowers your risk for atherosclerosis and blood clots too. If you smoke and already have heart disease, quitting reduces your risk of cardiac death, heart attacks, and death from other chronic diseases.
Using tobacco raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Ask your doctor about cessation methods that suit your lifestyle. Avoid secondhand smoke too.
Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke. Excessive drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. Much worse, alcohol can contribute to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it.
Listen, heavy drinking weakens your heart muscle. Schedule some non-drinking days each week and avoid binge drinking.
Being overweight or obese increases your heart rate and puts you at higher risk for many serious medical conditions, including heart complications and stroke. Gradual weight loss is easier to maintain, so 1 to 2 pounds each week is a safe goal for many adults.
How can you protect your heart when losing weight?
Include a fruit or a vegetable with every meal or snack. Cook in lower-calorie ways: roast, broil, grill, microwave, steam, or bake. Use nonstick pans or cooking sprays. Cut back on high-calorie toppings such as butter, margarine, sour cream, regular salad dressing, mayonnaise, and gravy.
Keeping Your Heart Rate Strong
It is not enough just to put good fuel in the body you must also take good care of the body. It is important to work out at least 3 to 4 hours a week.
Your heart works hard for you, beating about 100,000 times each day. Return the love by keeping it in top shape with a healthy lifestyle and appropriate medical care for your individual needs.
If you want to live long enough to enjoy your golden years you must start doing something about it now.
More About Your Heart Rate: What to Know About Your Heart Rate and Pulse