Finger On The Pulse

You may think testing your heart rate is only important when you are training or genetically at risk for heart problems.

But in reality – knowing & testing your heart rate frequently is an important part of understanding your current physiological state.

Are you fit to exercise intensely today? Or would a less intense workout be more beneficial for you?


For Workouts That Strengthen Your Heart Click Here


Heart Rate & Workouts…

  • Safety – It is important to see if your heart rate is staying in an acceptable range during your workouts. It is also important to know your pre-workout state. If your heart rate is erratic or very high before a workout this could suggest you are running to high Cortisol & should not push hard in with your exercise for that day?


  • Success – Monitoring your heart rate is essential in order to know just how successful your workouts truly are.   By seeing how much you are pushing your body & by ensuring that your workouts are getting you into your target heart rate range – you are able to gauge your progress & ensure that your workouts are as effective as possible.Over time your resting heart rate should decrease, indicating that your workouts are making your fitter.


  • Target – You can use your heart rate to target training response. Keeping your intensity in a steady position or spiking output intermittently throughout your workout will stimulate 2 very different responses from your body.



Top Of The Range…

Resting Heart Rate:

A resting heart rate is how fast your heart is pumping when you are sitting still, laying down or sleeping.


This is the amount of blood that your heart needs to pump when you are not exercising.  Typically, your resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute.


The lower your resting heart rate the fitter you may be.



You’re Target Heart Rate:

Experts recommend that you reach 50 -75% of your maximum heart rate during exercise.


To identify this number take the number 220 & subtract your age – the answer will give you a good idea of what your maximum heart rate should be during exercise.


Alternatively try out a target heart rate calculator at:



Factors that Affect Heart Rate:

There are a number of other factors that can affect your resting &/or target heart rate.


Some of these include:

  • Temperature – Your pulse may increase when the air is hot & humid.


  • Body Position – Whether you are resting & sitting or standing your pulse can change by 15-20 beats per minute.


  • Emotions – Stress or extreme emotions like overt happiness or extreme sadness can affect your pulse.


  • Weight – If you are obese your resting pulse will likely be higher.


  • Medication – Certain medications such as beta blockers tend to slow down the pulse while others may raise it.  Talk to your doctor about any medications you are on to see if these may be affecting your heart rate.



For Workouts That Strengthen Your Heart Click Here



Your pulse can be measured in a number of places including your wrist, the inside of your elbow, the side of your neck & the top of your foot.

For accuracy & ease, most find the pulse on the side of the neck the easiest one to use during measurements.



Finding Your Pulse…

Place your fingertips on your neck just below your jaw line to the side of your adams apple.

Be careful not to press too hard or you can interrupt the flow & get an inaccurate reading.

Press just deep enough to where you can feel the throb of the pulse.

Note – Never use your thumb as it has its own pulse-beat that could confuse your reading!



To The Beat…

In order to appropriately measure the beats – hold your fingers on the pulse & count the beats for ten seconds.

After ten seconds, multiply that number by 6 to see how many beats your heart is beating per minute.



Zoning Out…

Once you know your resting heart rate & maximum heart rate you are set up to evaluate a few baseline training zones.

Zones represent the amount of intensity your body is expending during your workout & can help you gauge whether you are reaching specific workout goals such as fat burn, muscle gain or increased stamina.

Training zones can be calculated on your own but to get the most helpful information possible, consider speaking to an expert health & fitness coach about a full metabolic or cardio assessment.

For more information on determining your own zones visit:

As advised by the British Heart Foundation – it is important to remember that if you feel any pain or discomfort during your workouts you should stop.

If this continues it’s important to see your doctor to rule out any possible health problems.


Chinese Heart Rates…

If you’ve ever had acupuncture you may have wondered why the acupuncturist checks your pulse.

This is because pulse is an important diagnostic tool used all the way back to ancient times.  Pulse is used to diagnose conditions, plan treatments & to monitor your body’s response to different stimuli.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the pulse is broken into three different positions, each position representing different organs & areas of the body.

The strength & weakness of the pulse at these different positions are used to diagnose different things about the patient.


For Workouts That Strengthen Your Heart Click Here

Perfect Heart Rate…

Reaching your target heart rate on a consistent basis plays a critical role in your overall health.

Not only is it important for reaching peak performance when training, but it also helps to stimulate the transportation of blood & nutrients throughout your body.

Performing at your peak helps to keep your body lean, toned & in the best physical shape.

Also remember – the heart is a muscle – perhaps the most important muscle in your entire body – your heart needs to be exercised just as often & just as well as your abs & biceps!





An easy way to keep an eye on your heart rate is to invest in a heart rater monitor. A strap around your chest paired with a watch on your wrist. Keep track & keep on track toward your goals.

The more accurate you can be with your training the easier you will find it to get results.

Raise your heart rate regularly but be always be aware of how your heart is performing.



To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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