Heart rate measures the total heartbeats in a minute. Fitness level, emotions, exercise, body position, weight, temperature, and heart and overall health are all factors that affect heart rate. Checking resting, maximal, and training heart rates is important to determine an optimal rate.
Checking Heart Rate
A heart rate can be taken manually by counting pulses, which are the contractions and expansions of an artery, for a full minute (or 10 seconds and multiply by 6). The best place to check one's pulse is at the wrist (radial) or at the neck (carotid).
Resting heart rate
Resting heart rate (RHR) is how many beats per minute (bpm) at rest. The best time to measure is right after waking up (the average of three mornings). The National Emergency Medical Association calls normal range between 60 and 90 beats per minute.
Maximum heart rate
Maximum heart rate (MHR) is about how many beats per minute one can handle without adverse effect. It can be roughly calculated by subtracting one's age from 200.
Target heart rate
Target heart rate (THR) is the range that is safe for exercise or activity. Staying between 60 to 80 percent of maximum heart rate is generally recommended during exercise.
A resting heart rate below 60 bpm is generally too low and is called bradycardia. Above 90 bpm is generally high, and is called tachycardia. Many skipped heartbeats could be an irregularity and this needs to be evaluated by a doctor.