The heart rate corresponds to the number of beats the heart makes every minute (bpm). It therefore represents the number of times the heart contracts and pumps the blood in a minute. Very often the heart rate is confused with the pressure that, instead, is exerted by the blood inside the blood vessels. These are important parameters, which is why it is essential to know how to measure heart rate.
To measure heart rate, cardiologists use instruments such as the electrocardiogram, the heart rate monitor and the saturometer. Without a specialist visit, we can now use the technology to measure our own pressure. There are, in fact, useful devices to understand how many beats per minute of the heart. Here, instead, is how to measure the heart rate without resorting to special instruments:
One method is to put the index finger and thumb of the hand on the neck at the height of the carotid artery, exerting a slight pressure you can feel the pulsations and count them;
Another method is to position the fingers on the wrist by turning the palm upwards, touching the radial artery.
To understand how much the beats increase when you train, you need to know the number of beats at rest. The advice is to count them in the morning when you wake up.
You can also determine your personal heart rate: to do so, simply calculate the difference between 220 and your age and multiply the value obtained by 85%. CF varies naturally according to your age and also according to your physical activity.
The best times to measure your heart rate are:
Heart rate plays an important role in general health, so much so that it can be used as an indicator in fitness. If your heart rate is close to 60 beats per minute, for example, you can be considered fit. Another aspect to consider is that the resting frequency recovers quickly after training, while in the first periods of physical activity, CF rises above 85% and you get tired quickly. It’s all normal, but you need to listen to your body and take some time off.
But does increasing one’s heart rate really help you lose weight?
Knowing your heart rate can be very useful if you are training to lose weight. In fact, once you reach high levels of intensity, the greatest consumption of fat begins. But not for everyone: if you want to lose weight you have to consume more calories than you ingest. Increasing your heart rate is therefore not enough because it can help you lose weight only if you consume calories in a balanced way compared to how many you consume.
It is good to know that measuring your heart rate cannot allow us to understand the percentage of fat burned. The latter, in fact, is related to energy expenditure and increases with the consumption of oxygen. Since each of us is different from the other, at the same heart rate two individuals will burn different amounts of oxygen and, therefore, different levels of energy. It is also the different use we make of our muscles that influences our HR. According to some studies, a static workout, such as lifting large weights, results in a higher heart rate than cardio exercises for weight loss. Taking only the heart rate as a benchmark, in cases like this there is a risk of overestimating energy and oxygen consumption.