This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease
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Often we don’t think about our hearts beating away in our chests, as it does so quietly and typically without cause for concern. However checking your heart rate can often give indications for a range of illnesses, the general health of your body and even your fitness levels. So what should YOUR exercising heart rate be?
Having a healthy heart means the right amount of blood is making its way around your body to support anything you are doing.
This means when you exercise your heart rate increases, in order to supply your muscles with the blood they need.
You can measure your heart rate a number of ways, with the typical way being to hold two fingers on your wrist.
Smartwatches can also measure heart rate, helping you to monitor your resting and active heart rate.
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What should your resting heart rate be?
Your resting heart rate is measured by counting the number of beats per minute of your heart while you’re sitting still.
The answer to this question is complicated, as a healthy resting heart rate is dependent on age and a range of other factors.
For example, for children normal resting heart rate is
- Newborns 0 to 1-month-old: 70 to 190 bpm
- Infants 1 to 11 months old: 80 to 160 pm
- Children 1 to 2 years old: 80 to 130 bpm
- 3 to 4 years old: 80 to 120 bpm
- 5 to 6 years old: 75 to 115 bpm
- 7 to 9 years old: 70 to 100 bpm
- 10 years and older: 60 to 100 bpm
For adults, this is different, with the normal resting heart rate range being between 60 and 100 bpm.
If you have a resting heart rate that lies outside of the normal resting heart rate range – you can sometimes experience symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue.
If you are concerned about your heart rate and experience any symptoms, book an appointment with your GP.
However, the resting heart rate range comes with caveats, as having a heart rate lower than 60 doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical problem.
Often, people who are active have lower heart rates as their heart muscles don’t need to work as hard to maintain a steady beat.
This means athletes and those who exercise regularly and are very fit can have resting heat rate as low as 40bpm.
You can also have a resting heart rate lower than 60 if you take certain medications.
Another indication of health and fitness levels is your heart rate when exercising.
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What should your exercising heart rate be?
When exercising, there are limits for where your heart rate should fall depending on exertion levels and these are
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 100 to 170bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 200bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 95 to 162bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 190bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 93 to 157bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 185bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 90 to 153bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 180bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 88 to 149bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 175bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 85 to 145bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 170bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 83 to 140bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 165bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 80 to 136bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 160bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 78 to 132bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 155bpm
- 50 to 85 percent exertion – 75 to 128bpm
- 100 percent exertion – 150bpm
Devices like smartwatches can measure your exercising heart rate, and to ensure your heart keeps healthy the NHS recommends 10 things you can do day to day.
1. Give up smoking
2. Get active
3. Manage your weight
4. Eat more fibre
5. Cut down on saturated fat
6. Get your five a day
7. Cut down on salt
8. Eat fish
9. Drink less alcohol
10. Read the food label – watch how calories and certain foods fit in with your diet
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