The Importance of Monitoring your Heart Rate

Heart rate is a vital and important sign with which to measure your health status. It is responsible for measuring the number of times per minute the heart beats or contracts. Although you must keep in mind that its speed can be altered as a result of increased physical activity, a threat to security or even an emotion.

Normal pulsations at rest are between 50 and 100 beats per minute and are those that a person has when relaxed. Having a normal frequency does not indicate that you do not have any type of illness, but it is relevant to identify them.

What is the heart rate?

We can define the heart rate as the number of times the heart beats for one minute, which is expressed in beats per minute. For proper functioning, the heart must pump blood to all organs at a specific frequency and at a certain pressure, known as blood pressure.

Given the importance of this process, an important energy consumption is required in each beat. Every time the heart beats, it pumps blood with nutrients and oxygen to the body and returns waste products.

It is common to confuse the pulse with the heart rate. The pulse rate is equivalent to the heartbeat, since its contractions cause an increase in blood pressure, which will cause a significant increase in the pulse.

What is the normal heart rate?

At birth, the heart rate is high because the body is subject to intense activity, but from the first month of life, it drops to adulthood. From the age of 20, it is usually stable. Despite this, the frequency varies throughout the night and day depending on various stimuli.

When you do a physical activity, your heart has a normal response known as tachycardia, although in some cases the opposite effect, bradycardia, can occur. In the first case, the beats are usually 100 or more per minute and in the second about 50.

How is the maximum heart rate calculated?

To calculate the maximum heart rate your heart can reach during physical exercise, you need to use your age. This is calculated by subtracting 220 years old.

This means that the pulsations by age should be around the values ​​presented below:

  • Between 0 and 20 years: 200 beats per minute.
  • At 30: 190 beats per minute.
  • At 40: 180 beats per minute.
  • At 50: 170 beats per minute.
  • At 60 years: 160 beats per minute.
  • At 70 years: 150 beats per minute.

Why do you have to control your heart rate?

Several studies have been carried out that show that there is an association between the risk of death and heart rate. These studies have been carried out both in patients with heart failure, and with ischemic heart disease, in hypertensive patients and in healthy patients.

But these studies have not only been carried out in humans, but have also been carried out in mammalian animals with a short life expectancy and that are also the ones that have more beats per minute, such as mice, which have between 500 and 600 beats per minute. His life expectancy is one or two years.

In the case of elephants or whales, their life expectancy is about 60 years, which is very long-lived for animals, and they have between 20 and 30 beats per minute.

Factors that influence normal pulsations

  • Normal pulsations can be affected by external and internal factors. The most common elements that usually affect are:
  • Genetics: affects the pulsations at rest, both low and high.
  • Time slots: depending on the time of day you are in, your keystrokes change. For example, during the morning they are lower than in the afternoon and when you do the digestion the pulsations increase between 10 and 30%.
  • Age: We have already explained that, throughout life, the heart rate changes. At birth there is a high demand for blood and as time goes by, stable and normal pulsations are acquired.
  • Gender: gender also influences when assessing beats per minute. In the case of women, they have between 5 and 15 beats more than men.
  • Drugs: Just as there are medications that cause photosensitivity, some can increase your number of beats per minute.
  • Temperature: the ambient temperature can vary the normal pulsations. You have more pulsations when it's hot than when it's cold. In addition, if you experience a sudden change in temperature, the brain sends stimuli to increase or decrease the temperature of specific organs.
  • Diseases: If the immune system is depressed due to problems such as fever, anemia or infections, the heart rate increases.
  • Dehydration: the blood thickens when you are not sufficiently hydrated, therefore, the blood flow is blocked and the heart must make a greater effort to work.

How to maintain a normal heart rate?

  • The best way to have and maintain a normal heart rate is to exercise regularly. Every one or two weeks of aerobic training you can get a reduction in your resting heart rate of one beat per minute.
  • Although exercise is important to promote a healthy heart rhythm, you can also take another set of measures to protect heart health. Among them, the following stand out:
  • Eliminate tobacco from your life. This substance increases the heart rate, so reducing its consumption or eliminating it can bring the rhythm to normal levels.
  • Reduce the level of stress. Stress is a factor that can increase both blood pressure and heart rate. The best way to reduce stress is to practice yoga, meditation and take deep breaths.
  • Lose weight. If you weigh more than you should, your heart will have to work harder to provide nutrients and oxygen to all areas of the body.