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How to Determine the Baseline Heart Rate

author image Will Capra
A copywriter and editor since 1998, Will Capra has handled projects for Fortune 50 companies, health care and higher education institutions and nonprofits, and his work has garnered numerous awards. Capra is also a prolific online writer, covering topics ranging from travel to technology for eHow. Capra holds a B.A. in English and is pursuing a master's degree in the same subject.
How to Determine the Baseline Heart Rate
Determine your baseline heart rate by checking your pulse while at rest.

Knowing your baseline heart rate can help you evaluate and monitor your cardiovascular health. According to the National Emergency Medical Association, factors such as emotional state, body temperature, stress and activity levels can affect heart rate. For these reasons, the American Heart Association recommends checking your heart rate by taking your pulse in the morning right after awakening. This measure, known as your resting heart rate, will let you determine a "baseline" heart rate to use when assessing your heart health and calculating your target and maximum heart rates during exercise.

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Step 1

Place the tips of two or three fingers gently against the underside of your opposite wrist. An ideal spot is just below the wrist joint on the side closest to your thumb.

Step 2

Press gently and move your fingertips carefully until you can feel the blood flowing in the vessels beneath your skin.

Step 3

Count the number of beats, or pulses, you feel during 10 seconds. Use a watch or clock that measures seconds to ensure the timing of your count is accurate.

Step 4

Multiply the number of beats you counted by six. This is your resting pulse, or baseline heart rate, which is measured in beats per minute.

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