Your pulse rate is a measure of your heart beats per minute. Your pulse can tell you if your heart is working too hard. An erratic pulse can indicate serious problems.
There are two main methods for manually checking a pulse. You can performs these actions on yourself or others. You can check a pulse either while relaxed or just after strenuous exercise. The most important measurement is taken while you are relaxed because that is one measure of how hard your heart is working to maintain the blood flow.
If you exercise a lot, it might be wise to invest in a heart rate monitor. These are small wrist-watch types of devices that monitor your heart rate on an ongoing basis as you exercise. Some treadmills also come with a heart rate monitor that you can use to monitor your heart rate. The idea with measuring the heart rate while excising is to strive to lower the heart rate over time. As you become more physically fit, your heart should not have to work as hard to keep up with strenuous activity.
This tutorial covers two manual methods for checking your pulse. Try each and see which one works better for you. Have a watch handy and measure the number of heart beats that you detect during a one minute period. That is your heart rate in beats per minute.
The Wrist Method
Apply light pressure with the first two fingers of the right hand to the soft area between to tendons in the center of your left wrist, just below the wrist joint. Relax your left hand. You should feel a slight pulsing. You do not have to press hard. The pulse can be felt with a light pressure. You just have to find the right spot. Move your fingers around slowly until you detect it.
The Neck Method
If you cannot find a pulse using the wrist method, try measuring it at the neck. For many people, the pulse can be easier to detect at the neck. There is a slightly hollow spot on the side of the neck, just slightly in back of the wind pipe. Apply a light pressure to this spot. Move your fingers around until you feel the pulse. This is pulse creates as blood surges through the carotid artery. Do not press hard because you can become faint if you do so. The carotid artery supplies blood flow to the brain.
What is a Normal Pulse?
The normal range for relaxed adults is between 60 and 80 beats per minute for men and 70 to 90 beats per minute for women. The pulse rates for children are higher. A baby’s heart rate can be up to 140 beats per minute. A 10-year old child’s heart rate can be as high as 90. These are the relaxed rates, which means that the subject has been sitting for at least a few minutes.
If you are relaxed and detect irregularities in the timing of the beats or find an elevated heart rate, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor.