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How to Measure Resting Heart Rate

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Your heart does a lot more than just supplying your body with oxygen-rich blood. It can also offer clues about your overall health. Enter the Resting Heart Rate (RHR) – a number that can reveal a lot. Let’s dive into the nuances of measuring and understanding this crucial metric.

How to Measure RHR Manually

Finding the Pulse

To begin, you’ll need to feel your heartbeat. You can typically find it at the wrist (radial artery) or side of the neck (carotid artery). Place your index and middle fingers over the artery, and you should feel the rhythmic beats

Counting Beats

To get your RHR, start a timer for 60 seconds and count the beats. If you’re short on time, you can count for 30 seconds and double the number for a reasonably accurate estimate

Devices That Measure Resting Heart Rate

With technological advancements, measuring Resting Heart Rate (RHR) has become not just more accessible, but also more accurate. No longer are you limited to just manually checking your pulse. Let’s look at the various devices that can help you monitor your RHR effortlessly.

Wearable Fitness Trackers

Popularly known as “wearables,” these devices are designed to be worn around the wrist, much like a watch. They continuously monitor your heart rate, among other health metrics, using optical sensors that detect blood flow changes.


  • Fitbit (models like Charge and Versa)
  • Garmin (Forerunner and Vívo series)
  • Xiaomi Mi Band

Smartwatches with Health Features

Beyond just telling time, smartwatches now come loaded with various health monitoring features, including RHR measurement. They use similar technology as fitness trackers but often combine it with other advanced sensors for more comprehensive health insights.


  • Apple Watch
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch
  • Garmin Fenix series

Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitors

Often used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts, these devices are worn around the chest. They detect the electrical signals from your heart, providing accurate and real-time heart rate data. They’re typically paired with a wristwatch or smartphone app.


  • Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor
  • Garmin HRM-Dual
  • Wahoo TICKR

Heart Rate Monitoring Earphones

Yes, your earphones can measure your heart rate too! These special earphones have integrated sensors that detect heart rate from your ears. They’re especially handy during workouts, combining music with heart rate monitoring.


  • Jabra Elite Sport
  • Bose SoundSport Pulse

Finger Pulse Oximeters

Though primarily used to measure oxygen saturation, these small clamp-like devices also provide heart rate readings. They’re placed on the fingertip and use light to detect blood flow changes.


  • Zacurate Pro Series 500DL
  • Innovo Deluxe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Smart Scales with Heart Rate Detection

While their primary function is to measure weight and body composition, some high-end smart scales also offer RHR measurement by passing a safe, low-level electrical signal through the body.


  • Withings Body Cardio
  • QardioBase 2

Apps That Measure Resting Heart Rate

Built-in Sensor Apps

These apps utilize the smartphone’s camera and flashlight. By placing a fingertip over the camera, the app detects subtle color changes in the skin to calculate heart rate.


  • Welltory: Going beyond just heart rate measurements, Welltory utilizes the smartphone’s camera to also measure heart rate variability (HRV), stress, and energy levels.
  • Cardiio: Offers face detection heart rate measurements and also has a workout intensity planner based on heart rate zones.
  • Instant Heart Rate: Provides quick heart rate measurements and stores history.

External Device Integrated Apps

These apps pair with external devices, like chest straps or wrist wearables, via Bluetooth to provide accurate heart rate data.


  • Polar Beat: Works seamlessly with Polar’s range of heart rate sensors and offers training feedback.
  • Wahoo Fitness: Connects with the Wahoo TICKR chest straps, offering real-time tracking and workout analytics.

Hybrid Apps

These apps pair with external devices, like chest straps or wrist wearables, via Bluetooth to provide accurate heart rate data.


  • Runtastic Heart Rate Monitor: While primarily known as a running app, it can measure heart rate using the phone’s camera and also integrate with wearables.

In Conclusion

The journey of measuring heart rate has come a long way, transitioning from manual checks to sophisticated wearable devices and intuitive smartphone applications. Tools like Welltory are prime examples of how technology is democratizing health insights. Yet, as we harness these advancements, it’s pivotal to remember that they’re supplements, not substitutes, for professional medical advice. 

Welltory Team, 22 July. 2023