What is your pulse?
Your pulse is your heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats in one
minute. Pulse rates vary from person to person. Your pulse is lower when you are at rest
and increases when you exercise (because more oxygen-rich blood is needed by the body when
how to take your pulse can help you evaluate your exercise program.
How to take your pulse
1. Place the tips of your index, second, and third fingers on the palm side of
your other wrist, below the base of the thumb. Or, place the tips of your index and second
fingers on your lower neck, on either side of your windpipe. (See the illustrations to
2. Press lightly with your fingers until you feel the blood pulsing beneath your
fingers. You might need to move your fingers around slightly up or down until you feel the
3. Use a watch with a second hand, or look at a clock with a second hand.
4. Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by
six to get
your heart rate (pulse) per minute.
|Check your pulse:|| _______________ x 6||=|| ________________|
|(beats in 10 seconds)||(your pulse)|
|What is a normal
|Age Group ||Normal Heart Rate at Rest |
|Children (ages 6-15)||70-100 beats per minute|
|Adults (age 18 and over)||60-100 beats per minute|
What is maximum heart rate?
The maximum heart rate is the highest your pulse rate can get. To calculate
your predicted maximum heart rate, use this formula:
220 - Your Age = Predicted Maximum Heart Rate
Example: a 40-year-old's predicted maximum heart rate is 180.
Your actual maximum heart rate can be determined by a graded exercise test.
Please note that some medicines and medical conditions might affect your maximum heart
rate. If you are taking medicines or have a medical condition (such as heart disease,
high blood pressure, or diabetes), always ask your doctor if your maximum
heart rate/target heart rate will be affected. If so, your heart rate
ranges for exercise should be prescribed by your doctor or an exercise
Target heart rate
You gain the most benefits and lessen the risks when you exercise in your
target heart rate zone. Usually this is when your exercise heart rate (pulse) is 60
percent to 80
percent of your maximum heart rate. In some cases, your health care provider might decrease
your target heart rate zone to begin with 50 percent.