Got your finger on the pulse? Now there's a more hi-tech way to check

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am


Instant Heart Rate by Azumio
Rating 9/10

Measuring your heart rate is simply a matter of placing your fingers on a pulse point and measuring what you feel - but doing it with your iPhone is a lot more fun. So much so that everyone in the family has had a go. Interestingly, teenagers generally have a higher resting heart rate than adults, which does seem the wrong way round given the laid-back lifestyle of the average youngster.

The Instant Heart Rate app uses the iPhone 4 or 3GS camera lens to measure heart rate by tracking the fluctuations in skin colour caused by blood as it is pumped through the body at each heartbeat. Place your fingertip on the lens and the app measures your heart rate over 10 seconds. You can choose to store the reading for future reference, with the option of adding a note so you can explain an unusual measurement, for example: 'argument with teen over cleaning bedroom' or 'second coffee'.

When measuring your resting heart rate - that is, first thing when you wake in the morning - a table indicates whether it's normal, excellent or poor. A lower resting heart rate generally indicates better cardiovascular fitness as a healthy, strong heart pumps blood more efficiently. While the normal rate is 60 to 90 beats per minute (bpm), conditioned athletes may have a heart rate closer to 40. Champion cyclist Lance Armstrong is said to have a heart rate of 32 bpm.

You should see your doctor, however, if your heart rate is abnormally low and you are not a conditioned athlete, or abnormally high and you are not in the middle of an exercise routine.

The app also has a page listing heart rate zones so you can keep an eye on the efficiency of your exercise routines.

By turning the iPhone on its side, you get to see a chart for both your heart rate and recovery rate measurements over time. Let's hope mine improve.