How can you measure a heartbeat?

Doctors measure heart rate—the number of contractions of the heart (or heartbeats) in one minute—by taking a person’s pulse or listening to the heart with a stethoscope. Your heart rate can be taken at any spot on the body at which an artery is close to the surface and a pulse can be felt, such as the wrist or the neck. When resting, the average adult human heartbeats at about 70 beats per minute (for males) and 75 beats per minute (for females), although this rate is often less for athletes. A toddler’s heart beats about 100 to 130 times per minute; the older child’s about 90 to 110 times per minute, and the adolescent’s about 80 to 100 times per minute. If you add it all up, 75 beats per minute translates to 4,500 beats an hour, 108,000 beats per day, or about 39.4 million beats in a year!


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