Monday, 24 February 2014

Heart Rate- Why is it Important?

The heart rate is one of our vital signs - it is the number of times a minute that our heart contracts or beats. The rate of heart contractions is equal to the pulse, which is how many times a minute that our arteries expand because of the increase in blood pressure originated by our heartbeat. Resting pulse should be measured first thing in the morning with your fingers and a stopwatch. Put your middle and index finger to either your radial artery on your wrist or your carotid artery in your neck. Once you find your pulse, count how many beats occur in 20 seconds, and multiply this number by 3. This is your resting pulse.

Resting pulse varies from person to person. The average resting pulse should be between 60-80 beats per minute (BPM). 68-80 BPM is by no means the only place a healthy person’s pulse can be. A variety of factors can affect your resting pulse reading, including the physical size of your heart, body size, activity level, fitness level, temperature, body position, emotions and medication use.

The more you work out the lower your resting pulse is, and the lower your resting pulse is the less hard your heart has to work. The best way to think about is to view your heart as a muscle, and the more you work it the stronger it gets. A stronger heart means more blood with each beat, and the same amount of work can be done with fewer beats. If your heart needs more beats to do the same amount of work, over time this can lead to cardiovascular diseases.

A higher resting pulse than usual can be a sign of over-training or illness. When you are recovering from a workout, your metabolism and heart are working harder to repair your body and get it back to a homeostasis. Therefore, if in the morning you have a higher resting heart rate than usual, your body could still be in a state of repair and you should adjust your workout regimen accordingly to prevent over-training or injury.

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