We all know a healthy heart equals a healthy life. Therefore, in honor of celebrating February as American heart month, here are some simple tests to gauge the health of your ticker.

Worryingly, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, one person experiences a heart attack every 40 seconds in the U.S., as per CNET.

There are many parameters to get an indication of a person’s heart health, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and electrical activity of the organ. But there are some preliminary basic tests that one can do at home without any professional equipment to know their heart health.

However, it is to be noted that self-tests are not substitutes for professional help. Keeping up to date with one’s heart condition, in general, helps one to catch an ailment early, which might prevent serious damage.

There are three easy ways to monitor your own heart health, which just require a few minutes and some basic math.

The stairs test

Everyone has access to stairs. You can use these mundane structures to check your heart health. According to a 2020 study by the European Society of Cardiology, you can assess your heart health by the time it takes you to climb four flights of stairs.

"If it takes you more than 1½ minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor," study author Dr. Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña, Spain, said, as per the outlet.

Another 2018 study also authored by Dr. Peteiro analyzed over 12,000 participants as they walked up three flights of stairs. People who took time in doing so were nearly three times more likely to die from heart disease within the next five years, the study found.

Resting heart rate

As the name suggests, resting heart rate is the number of times the heart beats in a minute when the body is at rest. Also called the pulse, this is what a doctor or a nurse listens to during check-ups.

Ideally taken in the morning when one wakes up and is still in bed, the resting heart rate should range from 60 to 100 beats per minute in a healthy adult, as per the outlet. However, the range also depends on age.

There is previous research that links higher resting heart rates with lower physical fitness, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart attack and death.

Maximum heart rate

One can also measure the heart rate during exercise. Maximum heart rate is the most that one’s heart can beat in strenuous conditions. It is generally said to find one’s maximum heart rate, one should subtract one’s age from figure 220, the outlet reported.

During moderate-intensity physical exercise, a person’s heart rate should be between 64% and 75% of his maximum heart rate, per the CDC. As for vigorous-intensity exercise, the heart rate should be between 77% and 93% of one’s maximum heart rate.

A simple way to calculate one’s heart rate is by putting the index and middle finger on the radial artery of the opposite wrist, and then counting the number of heartbeats for 15 seconds. To arrive at the actual heart rate, multiply that number by four.