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How to Calculate Average Heart Rate

author image Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.
How to Calculate Average Heart Rate
Your average heart rate is often called your resting heart rate. Photo Credit: Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your heart rate can tell you a lot about the workload your body is feeling. If you are exercising or excited, your heart rate tends to increase to provide more oxygen throughout the body where energy is being consumed. Your average heart rate, also sometimes called your resting heart rate, can serve a measure of your body's overall fitness level--the better in shape your body is, the more likely you will be to have a lower average heart rate. Calculating your average heart rate is a very easy process, and you can use this base heart rate to determine how much you should push yourself in athletic training.

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Step 1

Wait until your body is relaxed and does not seem to be elevated in any way. For example, do not take your heart rate after exercising--this will produce a heart rate much higher than your actual average heart rate.

Step 2

Find your pulse somewhere on your body using your index and middle finger from one hand. Common locations include the neck just below the ear, and on the palm side of your forearm just below the wrist.

Step 3

Identify the rhythm of your heart beat and wait for a convenient time to start timing. It is good to have a timer you can watch rather than counting the seconds on your own, as you will lose track when counting the beats of your heart. Once the timing period starts, begin counting all the beats of your heart felt within that period of time. Continue for 15 seconds, then stop.

Step 4

Multiply the number of heart beats felt by 4. This is your average heart rate.

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