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Heart Rate

Checking your heart rate is a good indicator of your health. It can tell things like overall cardiorespiratory fitness levels based on resting heart rates. Heart rate readings during activity can indicate how the body is responding to physical exercise. The two most common pulse points for checking your heart rate are the radial pulse and carotid pulse.

The radial pulse can be found on the right side of the arm just above the thumb. While the carotid pulse can be found on the neck. To check either pulse, place two fingers in the desired location. Once a pulse is found count the pulses for 60 seconds. Do this over the course of 3 days, preferably in the morning and average the results. This will give you your resting heart rate. With your resting heart rate target heart rates can be established.

The two methods for estimating target heart rates are the straight percentage method and the Karvonen method. The straight percentage method subtracts your age from 220 and will give an estimated HR max. With your estimated HR max you then multiply it by 65-95% intensity to establish training zones one, two and three.

  • Zone One: Between HR max * 0.65 and HR max * 0.75
  • Zone Two: Between HR max * 0.76 and HR max * 0.85
  • Zone Three: Between HR max * 0.86 and HR max * 0.95

The Karvonen method establishes training intensity by finding the difference between max heart rate and resting heart rate. This is one of the more common and generally accepted methods of calculating training intensity. In order to estimate your target heart rate for zones one, two and three use the following formula:

  • THR = [(HR max – HR rest) * intensity] + HR rest

Another excellent method for collecting heart rate are smart watches that have built in heart rate monitors. Typically they pair with an application to not only record this vital bit of information but other data points as well.