Health Topics

Healthy Living

February 2011
Does Your Heart Beat Faster?
Vidya Gajapati Raj Singh
The relation of the heartbeat or pulse to fitness is certainly not a new topic.In fact, Plutarch of ancient Greece had noted in his Moralia: Advice About Keeping Well, “Each person ought to be acquainted with the peculiarities of his own pulse, for there are many individual diversities.”

The pulse is a simple measure of the body’s wellness, stress or illness. Your pulse rate is an indication of everything that is happening in your body,like:
  • Rising of your body temperature
  • Speed of your burning and using energy
  • Effectiveness of your body in handling wastes
  • Working of your muscles
  • Even, your emotional state
Strengthening the Heart
Studies show that cardiovascular activity, that raises the heartbeat and keeps it raised for a length of time, is the most effective method of keeping fit. When the heart becomes stronger, the beat gets stronger, pushing blood through your system more effectively.Your lungs become stronger as your rhythm of breathing improves and can bring in more oxygen into the body.

Exercise has a twofold effect on the heart. It strengthens the heart muscle and increases the coordination of the fibres that push the blood out of the heart with each beat. This automatically strengthens the heart,the veins and arteries. A stronger heart gives power to the body so that you can perform any activity with ease.

Heart Rate
Dr. Kenneth Cooper, known as the father of aerobics, recognised that people need endurance. He emphasised on the relationship of the heart, blood circulation and oxygen consumption. Further studies through the years have led to the conclusion, that cardiovascular endurance in tandem with strength training is the most effective way to achieve peak fitness.

One of the most important standards to measure your physical fitness is, to check your heart recovery rate and the length of time it takes for your heartbeat to return to normal, when you stop the aerobic activity. It is imperative that each of us needs to lower our heart rates, as a high resting heart rate is an indication that your heart is working much harder than it should be. A slow heartbeat is far more efficient and preserves the heart for longer.

Any cardio training that makes you exert yourself will help strengthen your heart, leading to a significantly lowered heartbeat. The average heartbeat for men is about 72-76 beats a minute and for women 75-80 beats a minute. A resting heartbeat that is higher than 80 is indicative of poor health and low fitness levels. This will automatically increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Find Your Pulse
Feel the pulse with your fingers on your wrist

Scale of Exertion Pulse rate
Very light 100
Moderate 120
Heavy 140
Very heavy 150-160
Did You Know?
  • Pulse rate changes through the day
  • It is lowest when you wake up after a night’s sleep
  • Once you are awake it may increase by five or ten beats per minute
  • Resting heartbeat increases during the day
  • Any activity increases the heartbeat

Vidya Gajapati Raj Singh is a sports and fitness enthusiast, and popular columnist based in chennai
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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