What is a healthy heart rate? How do you determine the healthy heart rate for your age?
WHAT IS HEART RATE?
There is a technical difference between “pulse” and “heart rate.” Pulse is the action of blood moving through the veins and arteries causing a pulsing or rhythmic throbbing sensation that can be felt or heard. Heart rate refers to the speed of the heartbeat. This specifically refers to the number of heartbeats per unit unit of time. BPM, beats per minute is the typical measurement of heart rate.The heart rate can vary according to the body’s physical needs. An athletic individual is more likely to have a lower heart rate than a sedentary individual.
WHAT MAKES HEART RATE VARY?
Heart rate will vary according to the body’s need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. Physical exercise, illness, diet, sleep, and drugs will affect the heart rate, or pulse. The heart rate can vary according to the body’s physical needs. An athletic individual is more likely to have a lower heart rate than a sedentary individual. Heart rate will vary according to the body’s need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide.
Many different factors can effect heart rate including:
- Activity level
- Fitness level
- Air temperature
- Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
- Body size
WHAT ARE ABNORMAL HEART RATES?
The normal human heart rate ranges from 60-120 bpm, depending on the age and physical fitness level of the person. An athelete might be 40 bpm. A slow heart rate is known as bradycardia, and is below 60 bpm. Tachycardia refers to a fast heart rate (above 100 bpm). Anarrhythmia is diagnosed in an individual when the heart rate is irregular. When a heart rate is too fast, too slow or irregular, it might indicate a cardiovascular problem or a disease.
WHAT ARE NORMAL HEART RATES?
According to the National Health Service, UK, the following are ideal normal pulse rates at rest, in bpm (beats per minute):
- Newborn baby = 120 – 150 BPM
- Baby (1 – 12 mo.) = 80 – 140 BPM
- Baby/toddler (1 – 2 yr.) = 80 – 130 BPM
- Toddler/young child (2 – 6 yr.) = 75- 120 BPM
- Child (7 – 12 yr.) = 75 – 100 BPM
- Adult (18+ yr.) = 60 – 100 BPM
- Adult athlete = 40 – 60 BPM
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE YOUR HEART RATE?
Heart rate is usually determined by placing two fingers on an artery. There are several different places where you might be successful in feeling a pulse. After sensing the pulse beating there, count the pulse beats for up to one minute. If a person uses a blood pressure cuff, the heart rate is generally displayed, however taking the pulse and determining the heart manually without the aid of electronic equipment is more accurate, especially if the person has an irregular heart beat.
LOCATIONS FOR CHECKING YOUR HEART RATE
There are eleven different common locations for checking the pulse and determining the heart rate:
- Wrist (radial artery)
- Neck (carotid artery)
- Facial artery (lateral edge of mandible, or jaw)
- Basilar artery (side of head near ear)
- Superficial temporal artery (temple)
- Abdominal aorta (over the abdomen)
- Brachial artery (under bicepts or inside elbow)
- Apex of the heart (on the chest)
- Femoral artery (groin)
- Dosalis pedis (middle of dorum of foot)
- Posterior tibial artery (behind medial malleoulus of foot)