Heart rate refers to the number of times the heart beats per minute. It is a measure of the heart's activity and is an important indicator of overall health and fitness. A normal resting heart rate for adults typically ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute, although individual variations can occur.
The heart rate is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system increases the heart rate, while the parasympathetic nervous system slows it down.
Heart rate can be measured in a variety of ways, including performing an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) test. These tests can provide valuable information about the heart's health, including its rhythm, strength, and overall function. Heart rate can also be measured manually by taking the pulse at the wrist, neck, or chest, or by using a heart rate monitor. Some fitness trackers and smartwatches also have built-in heart rate monitors, which can be useful for monitoring heart rate during exercise.
The importance of heart rate lies in its ability to provide information about a person's cardiovascular health. Abnormal heart rates, either too high or too low, can indicate an underlying health condition, such as arrhythmia or heart disease. Monitoring heart rate during exercise can also help individuals track their fitness level and progress.
In addition to providing information about cardiovascular health, heart rate can also be used to guide treatment decisions. For example, certain medications are used to slow down or speed up the heart rate, depending on the patient's condition. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your heart rate or if you experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness.