It’s normal to wonder if your heart is ticking just right. Sometimes you may think it beats too slowly. Or you might worry it’s racing too fast. The truth is, there’s a lot you’ve heard about your pulse that’s flat out wrong. It’s time to set the record straight.
1. Myth: A normal heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute.
Recent studies suggest a heart rate higher than 76 beats per minute when you’re resting may be linked to a higher risk of heart attack.
The better shape you’re in, the slower your heart rate will be when you’re not moving around.
2. Myth: An erratic heart rate means I’m having a heart attack.
When your heart beats in an irregular pattern, you’re having what’s called palpitations. You may feel as if it skipped a beat or speeds up. Or it may seem like a brief flutter or a pounding in your chest.
3. Myth: If my pulse is fast, it always means I’m stressed out.
Stress is just one thing that can raise your pulse. Your heart rate may also speed up when you exercise, get excited, or feel anxious or sad.
4. Myth: If my heart rate is normal, my blood pressure is fine.
Sometimes your heart rate and your blood pressure go hand in hand. For example, when you exercise or get angry or scared, they both go up. But they’re not always linked. If your heart rate is normal, your blood pressure may not be. It could be too high or too low, and you may not realize it.
5. Myth: If my heart rate is slow, it means I have a weak heart.
Not necessarily. A slow heart rate can be a sign that you’re healthy and fit. An athlete’s heart muscle is in better shape, so it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep up a steady beat.