The heart is a muscular pump which pumps the blood around the body and lungs and the rate and regularity is one of the important indicators of how healthy you are. You can check your hear rate by feeling your pulse and counting how many times your heart beats in a minute and the regularity of the rhythm.
The following video shows how this is done:-
- Your wrist
Put one of your hands out so you’re looking at your palm.
Use the first finger (your index finger) and middle finger of your other hand and place the pads of these fingers on the inside of your wrist, at the base of your thumb.
Press lightly and feel the pulse. If you can’t feel anything press slightly harder or move your fingers around until you feel your pulse.
- Your neck
Press your index and middle finger gently against the side of your neck, next to your windpipe.
Press lightly to feel your pulse. You may need to move your fingers around if you can’t find your pulse
How to check your pulse
Once you’ve found your pulse, continue to feel it for about 20-30 seconds. Feel your pulse and check if it’s regular or irregular. You can work out your heart rate in beats per minute (bpm) by:
counting the number of beats in your pulse after 60 seconds, or
counting the beats for 30 seconds and multiplying by two.
If your pulse feels irregular, you should check for a full 60 seconds.
What should you check?
Your heart rate:
Most adults have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 bpm
Your heart rate may be lower if you do lots of exercise and are very fit. Some athletes have heart rates ranging from 40 to 60 bpm.
Your heart rhythm:
Occasional irregularities such as missed beats are very common and usually nothing to worry about, but it is still best to check this with your doctor.
An irregular pulse could also be a sign of an arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm), such as Atrial Fibrillation (AF). This is more likely if you are 65 or older.
If your pulse is irregular or if you’re concerned in any way about your pulse you should make an appointment to see your GP.