Your heart rate can be taken with a heart rate monitor or manually at any spot on the body at which an artery is close to the surface and a pulse can be felt. The most common places to manually measure heart rate are the neck (carotid artery)and the wrist (radial artery). You should always use your fingers to take a pulse, not your thumb, because you can sometimes feel your own pulse through your thumb.
• To take your heart rate at your neck, place your first two fingers on either side of your neck. Be careful not to press too hard, and then count the number of beats for a minute.
• To take your heart rate at your wrist, place your index and middle fingers together on the opposite wrist, about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) inside the joint, in line with the index finger.
Once you find a pulse, count the number of beats you feel in one minute.For an even more accurate heart rate measurement, you may choose to use a heart rate monitor, as mentioned earlier. Sometimes the motion of the exercise makes manually taking heart rate difficult, and a monitor helps to get clearer results. Heart rate monitors will also record heart rate change over short periods of time. A heart monitor includes a transmitter attached to a belt worn around the chest and a receiver worn on the wrist.
With each heartbeat, an electrical signal is transmitted through the skin. The transmitter is placed on the skin near the heart to pick up this signal. It sends the signal containing heart rate data to the wrist receiver, which displays the heart rate. Simple heart rate monitors have the capacity to only show the heart rate at a given time. More elaborate monitors can record time, calculate average and maximal heart rate, and even sound an alarm when a predetermined heart rate zone is reached or exceeded.