Checking your pulse is a way to determine your heart rate which is a reflection of your heart and health. Your heart rate is the number of beats per minute (bpm). Your resting pulse can be affected by stress (both emotional and physical), temperature, medications, and foods. Your resting pulse can also be high if you are sick or over training. During a recent trip to Mt. Whitney, my resting heart rate which is usually between 50-60 bpm, was closer to 70. My body was working harder during the higher altitude.
To check your resting heart rate, find your pulse along your neck near your throat. You can check your pulse by using the inside of your elbow, the inside of your ankle, or your wrist. Have a clock with a second hand handy(ha) or your smart phone set to stopwatch mode. Count your pulse for a minute for best results. You can also check it for 20 seconds (multiply by 3) or 30 seconds (double your pulse check). Here’s a little video of my daughter and I showing you how to do a quick 20 seconds pulse check:
For more information about why an unusually high pulse, low pulse, or something seems different, click on this article . It also highlights when it is time to see your doctor.
If you are an athlete who trains regularly and intensely, and you notice your resting heart rate elevated, you may be overtraining or coming down with something. Read more about overtraining and other signs such as irritability, change in appetite, and decrease in performance.
Your heart rate is not the same as your blood pressure. If you are concerned about your health, contact your doctor. Here’s a good article that outlines the difference between heart rate and blood pressure.