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07 April 2011

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Why Is it Important to Know Your Heart Rate?

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Knowing your heart rate keeps you informed about your health. A normal resting heart rate for most grown adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. It's important to know if your heart rate is normal because a heart rate that is too high or low could indicate an underlying health issue. It's also good to know what your heart rate is so you can exercise at peak performance rather than not working hard enough or working too hard.


Determining your heart rate is easy. To find your resting heart rate, simply find your pulse on your aortic artery and count heartbeats for 10 seconds; multiply this number by six. This is also the way to determine your heart when you are exercising. You can also buy heart rate watches and monitors to help you figure out your heart rate.


Tachycardia is a condition when the heart rate is faster than normal. Tachycardia is not an immediate danger for most people and may not cause any health complications. However, it can disrupt normal heart functions, increasing the risks of stroke or cause sudden cardiac arrest. Bradycardia is a condition when the heart beats slower than normal. Bradycardia can be dangerous if the heart isn't pumping enough oxygen throughout the body. In some people, bradycardia won't cause complications. Pacemakers can help hearts with slow rates maintain a normal heart rate, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Knowing your target heart rate during exercise is extremely beneficial. You can measure your fitness level and how your body is responding to exercise with this information. To determine your target heart rate, subtract your age from the number 222. Your maximum heart rate is the total number. For example, this rate is 185 for a 35-year-old. A general rule is to stay within 60 to 85 percent of this number. The same 35-year-old's range falls between 117 and 165.


Many things can influence your heart rate such as your activity level, the position of your body when you take your heart rate, your emotions, your body size and any medications you may be taking. Be still when you take your heart rate, and alert your physician if you consistently have a heart rate that is above 100 or below 60.


Not all people will have what is considered a "normal" heart rate. For example, athletes can have a resting heart rate that ranges from 40 to 60 beats per minute. Elderly people generally have higher resting heart rates.

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