Know Your Numbers For Heart Health

We’re wrapping up our focus on American Heart Month with a look at sets of numbers you should keep track of and maintain, in order to help achieve optimal heart health.  Of course your family physician can help provide you with your personal numbers and devise a plan with you to get to your cardio health goals.

Heart Rates — When your heartbeat is in the target range it should be, it becomes easier to achieve optimal fitness through exercise and physical activity. Start by measuring your resting heart rate.  The best time to do so is first thing in the morning, before you grab that cup of coffee and start moving around.  For most adults, a good resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The lower your number, the better condition your heart is in.

Heart Rates, Part 2 — When it’s time to exercise or exert a lot of physical energy, keep these numbers in mind.  Your average maximum heart rate should be around 220 minus your age.  In moderate activities your heart rate should be around 50-70% of maximum. When you’re in the midst of vigorous physical activity, your heart rate should be 70-85% of maximum.

Activity trackers make it easy to monitor your heart rate.  To check the old-fashioned way, use the tips of your 2 fingers to press lightly on the artery on the inside of your other wrist, near the thumb side. Count your pulse for 30 seconds, multiply by 2 and you have your beats per minute. This article by the American Heart Association can give you even more information about your target heart rates.

Next week, we’ll explain exactly what those blood pressure numbers mean, and why keeping track of yours is so important.