Fitness professionals the world over say that it is possible for you to check your pulse through the process of counting how many heartbeats you feel during the period a minute. Your pulse is the pace at which your heart beats and is measured using the number of beats in a minute. Your heart rate can vary according to what you’re doing; for example, your pulse will be slower if you’re sleeping and quicker if you’re exercising.

How to find your pulse

You can find your pulse, say, fitness professionals, where an artery passes close to your skin such as your wrist or, alternatively, your neck. To find your pulse in your wrist:

  • Hold out one of your hands, have your palm facing upwards as well as your elbow is slightly bent.
  • Put your first (index) as well as the middle finger of your other hand onto the inside of your wrist – in other words at the base of your thumb.
  • Press your skin softly until you can feel your pulse. If you are unable to feel anything, you may need to press slightly harder or move your fingers around.

In order to find your pulse in your neck, press the same two fingers onto the side of your neck in the soft area just beside your Adam’s apple. When you find your pulse:

  • Tally the number of beats, which it is possible for you to feel, for one entire minute, or
  • Count the number for 30 seconds and then multiply by 2.

The figure that you get is the number of times, in a minute, that your heart is beating. It’s known as your resting heart rate if you’ve been resting for at least 10 minutes before checking your pulse.

If you’re counting another person’s pulse, use a clock with a second hand. Carefully count how many beats you feel in a full minute.

It is also possible for you to check if your pulse is regular or not by feeling its rhythm for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. Occasional irregular heartbeats, such as missed beats, are very common. However, if your pulse is irregular for a continued length of time, it can be a sign of atrial fibrillation which is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.

What’s a normal heart rate?

Fitness professionals say that for adults, 95% of normal people have a resting heart rate of between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The fitter that you are, the lower your resting heart rate will probably be. As an example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of between 40 and 60 beats per minute. Their heart rates may even be lower than this.

If you check your pulse while you’re exercising, or immediately afterward, it may be you an indication of your fitness levels. A heart rate monitor is also very beneficial for recording your heart rate when resting or during exercise.

Aerobic activities – such as walking, running and swimming – are good types of exercise because they increase your heart and breathing rates. I you haven’t exercised before, or for some time, consult a fitness professional such as a personal trainer about how much exercise you should be doing.

Treadmills, elliptical machines in addition to other exercise equipment that is found in fitness centers, gyms and a number of home exercise rooms often feature handgrip heart rate monitors. These rely on trace amounts of sweat from your palms as well as the metal on the grips in order to detect the electric signal of your heartbeat. However, experts don’t recommend these for checking your heart rate, as they are notoriously inaccurate.