Oxygenated blood enters the heart through the pulmonary veins. The blood is then pumped out through the aortic valve after passing through the left ventricle of the heart. Your pulse can be felt because of the expansion of the aorta as the ventricle expands to let the blood flow. Your pulse rate can help ascertain how hard your heart is working.
Where to Find Your Pulse
You can best locate your pulse along an artery. You can feel the radial artery located in your wrist. Count every beat for one minute or count beats for 15 seconds, then multiply by 4 to get the total beats per minute.
The normal pulse rate for an adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
When your pulse rate is above 100 beats per minute, it is called tachycardia. If you are under stress or have just finished exercising, this pulse rate can be considered normal.
If your pulse rate is below 60 beats per minute, it is called bradycardia. Athletes often maintain resting pulse rates below 60 beats per minute.
Your pulse rate may go as low as 40 beats per minute while you are asleep, and it can climb as high as 200 beats per minute during strenuous exercise.
Target Pulse Rate
A general rule of thumb is that your target heart rate is about 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate. You can figure your maximum heart rate by subtracting 40 from your weight. Multiply this number by 70 per cent to get your target pulse rate.