For the average person, the heart pumps between 1,500 - 2,000 gallons of blood through your body per day. The pace of which your heart beats per minute can significantly mean the difference between living a healthy lifestyle or a cause for concern.

 

The Science of RHR

by Edmund Arellano

 

Technology is becoming more advanced and our watches are getting smarter. Most current sport watches are equipped with heart rate monitors that track the number of beats per minute on any activity. Even sleeping. If you like running "naked", that is - without a watch, you can still monitor your heart rate. Actually, everybody should be monitoring their heartrate.  But, why is it so important to monitor your heart rate? What's the significance of having a low beating pulse and where's the science behind it? Today, we'll answer all those questions.

What are the different types of heart rate?

There are more than one type of heart rate, each with a level that corresponds to your state of fitness and health.

  1. NEO RHR2Resting Heart Rate. Measure your pulse when you're completely relaxed.  The best time to do this is in the morning when you wake up. This number tells you how fast your heart is pumping blood when your body is at it's most relaxed point of the day. A lower number, for example 40-50 bpm, indicates that your heart is taking very little effort to pump blood.
  2. Pre-Exercise HR. This is your pulse as determined by your normal day-to-day activities, for example, walking around the house, grocery shopping, or walking the dogs.
  3. Maximum HR.  This is the goal that most athletes strive to achieve, especially with regards to endurance sports like sprinting or cycling. But it's important to remember that your maximum HR does not alway correlate to maximum speed (we'll explain this later).

How is your heart rate affected?

There are a few things you should understand about your heart rate, specifically, how it's affected by your surroundings, stress level, weather, and even the food you eat. For example, those living in higher altitudes (think Colorado) may have a slightly higher pulse than those living at sea level. By contrast, those living in areas where humidity is heavy (think Florida), may also experience a slightly higher pulse than normal.

These differences help explain why two healthy individuals of the same sex and age have a different heart rate. What's important is that you understand your heart rate.  In the video below, Sports Scientist Gian Mario Migliaccio explains why your heart rate may be different than someone else of equal fitness level.

Heart Rate and Sport Exercise
Heart Rate and Sport Exercise
Previous Next Play Pause
1

 

Resting Heart Rate

The amount of effort your heart works to pump blood at a resting state should give you a general idea of your level of fitness. As an adult, your heart rate should be beating at an average of about 75 bpm or less. If you're an athlete that enjoys working out 3-5 times a week, you'll notice a significant drop in pressure. Your heart may be beating at about 55 or less.

Maximum Heart Rate

In any given work out, your pulse will increase. For most athletes, the goal is to sustain a certain level of heart rate for a specified period of time. For example, a distance-runner may want to keep his heart beating at 160 bpm for one hour which will help measure the level of endurance. The question you should be asking yourself is, "How long can I keep up my heart rate without stopping?"

How to Measure Your Heart Rate

There are several ways to measure and keep track of your heart rate. You can do it old school, or keep up with modern times and use simple technology.

  1. Old School. Using your pointer and middle finger, apply slight pressure to your neck near the carotid artery and count the number of beats in a minute (or 30 seconds and multiply by 2). You can also do this on the underside of your wrist near your thumb. Then write it down in a journal and keep track of it. Do this everyday and as often as you want. Using a little simple arithmetic, plot your numbers on an XY axis graph and start a trend.
  2. Buy a watch (or a heart rate monitor strap). Many well-known athletic companies build watches with built-in heart rate monitors.  Running World has a great article that covers 16 advanced GPS watches.

The Heart Rate Chart

The chart below should give you a general idea of your state of health. As noted above, your individual heart rate will differ from others. Study your heart rate and keep it up daily. What's your resting heart rate today, tomorrow morning, and every morning for a week? Once you establish a pattern, you'll start to see accurate results.

Heart Rate Chart

Disclaimer

We love seeing progress, but NeoEndurance doesn't want to see you suffer.  You're responsible for your own health. If you're a beginning athlete, start slow and be patient. The information in this article is NOT meant to supplement your exercise habits. It's a general guide based on scientific studies such as this one from the National Center for Biotechnology Center.


Comments?

What's your resting heart rate?