A normal heart rate is defined as how many times the heart beats or contracts in one minute. This measurement must be taken when the body is prostrate and breathing normally. Health professionals will advise that the best time to check for a normal heart rate is in the morning hours, preferably after a good night’s sleep. The heart rate is usually used as a measurement of a person’s physical fitness and accordingly it is important to constantly monitor and check to ensure that a normal heart rate is maintained. A resting heart rate is simply the measurement of the heart rate while the body is at rest. Additionally, the resting heart rate for a man is considered to be normal when it is between 70-80 beats per minute (bpm) while it is 75-80 for women.
How is a normal heart rate measured?
To check for a normal heart rate means to find the pulse of the body. The pulse is measured at any point where the pulsation of arteries is transmitted to the surface. This can be done by pressing the index and middle fingers against a pulse point and counting the beats that are felt in a given time period. For example the number of beats in a ten second interval would be multiplied by six to obtain the beats per minute. The most reliable way to do this is to tilt the head slightly and put the index and middle fingers over the carotid artery located in the neck. The carotid artery is found just below the outer jaw line. Please note that the thumbs should never be used to check for a pulse as it has its own pulse and may result in double counts. The measurement of a normal heart rate is used by doctors to aid in the diagnosis and tracking of medical conditions or complaints. It can also be employed by individuals, for example, athletes, to monitor their heart rate in order to maximize their training regimes.
Possible checkpoints for a normal heart rate
There are several possible arteries in the body from which an accurate reading can be obtained. These arteries can be found in the wrist, the side of the thumb (radial artery), the neck (carotid artery), the inside of the elbow, under the bicep muscle (brachial artery), the groin (femoral artery), behind the knee (popliteal artery), the temple (Superficial Temporal Artery) and the lower edge of the mandible (facial artery). There are also instruments that can be used to measure the heart rate such as the electrocardiogram.
What affects a normal heart rate?
A normal heart rate will be affected by several factors. These are age, gender, physical fitness level, certain drugs or medications, genetics and also anxiety. There are, however, people who may have a heart rate either above or below what is considered normal and which cannot be attributed to any of the known contributing factors or medical diagnosis.