Typical Resting Heart Rates
For most adults, a normal resting heart rate is considered to be between 60 to 100 bpm, though this range can vary and depends on multiple factors. Adult males tend to have lower heart rates.
A heart rate outside of this range may still be considered healthy in certain situations. For example, athletes and physically fit individuals may have resting heart rates as low as 30 bpm. Your doctor can help you assess whether your resting heart rate is healthy for you.
Resting heart rate decreases with age. For example, one large study found that the upper limit of the average resting heart rate is 110 bpm for adults 18 to 45 years old, 100 bpm for those between 45 and 60 years old, and 95 bpm for those older than 60. These are the average resting heart rates for healthy adults, as reported by the same study:
Measuring Resting Heart Rate
Though there are a number of products, like smartwatches and heart rate monitors, that can measure resting heart rate, all you need is a watch with a second hand.
To measure your heart rate, place a finger over the radial artery or carotid artery. The radial artery is found at the base of the wrist on the side of the thumb. The carotid artery is found on the neck, to the side of the windpipe, just under the angle of the jaw.
Once you have located the artery, place your index and middle fingers over it and count the number of pulsations in one minute. A quicker method is to count the number of beats over 15 seconds and multiply this by 4 to determine beats per minute.
Factors That Can Affect Resting Heart Rate
In addition to age, a few other factors can affect your resting heart rate.
- Temperature. Your heart rate may increase slightly when youre exposed to hot temperatures.
- Medication side effects. Medications, like beta-blockers, can lower your resting heart rate.
- Emotions. If youre anxious or excited, your heart rate may increase.
- Weight. People with obesity may have a higher resting heart rate. This is because the heart has to work harder to supply the body with blood.
- Anemia. In anemia, low levels of red blood cells can cause the heart to beat faster in order to supply your body with oxygen-rich blood.
- Endocrine or hormonal abnormalities. Abnormal levels of some hormones can influence heart rate. For example, too much thyroid hormone can increase heart rate while too little thyroid hormone can decrease heart rate.
- Postural tachycardia syndrome . This syndrome produces an abnormal increase in heart rate after sitting up or standing. In addition to heart palpitations, some typical symptoms of PoTS include dizziness and fainting.
- Body positioning. Heart rate can increase temporarily when you move from a sitting to a standing position.
- Smoking. Smokers tend to have a higher resting heart rate. Quitting smoking can help bring it back down. This is often difficult, but a doctor can help build a cessation plan that works for you.
Your maximum heart rate is a calculation that helps you figure out what your ideal target heart rate is during exercise.
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Treatment Of Low Heart Rate
In patients with confirmed or suspected slow heart rate, the underlying possible causes such as those outlined above need to be evaluated carefully. Its especially important to review the medication list carefully and stop any potentially offending agents. Blood tests such as thyroid function studies may be performed.
An EKG is performed to see if there is just a slow heart rate or any evidence of heart block. Sometimes a monitor is worn to see the heart rate over time. Some people with a slow heart rate are unable to get their heart rate up with exercise known as chronotropic incompetence this can be diagnosed with exercise testing. An echocardiogram may be performed to evaluate the heart structure and function.
What we do with a slow heart rate really depends on how bad the symptoms are. Its key to make sure the symptoms are related to the slow heart rate and that possible causes are identified and treated. The main indication for a patient without symptoms to get a pacemaker would be advanced heart block, long pauses in the heartbeat or rhythms that have the potential to lead to instability.
In patients that are symptomatic, and in whom underlying reversible causes have been ruled out, insertion of a pacemaker may be required. The choice of pacemaker for those with a low heart rate is different in different people and depends upon the level of block in the heart.
Does Bradycardia Require Treatment
If your heart rate is slow, but you dont have symptoms, theres no reason to worry. However, its a good idea to know the signs of trouble because bradycardia in some cases does require treatment.
For example, if your heart rate drops into the 30s, you might not get enough oxygen to your brain, making fainting, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath possible. Blood can also pool in your heart chambers, causing congestive heart failure.
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Why Could A Low Heart Rate Be Bad In Some Situations
The heart needs to pump out a certain amount of blood to provide the body with the blood it needs to function. The amount of blood pumped is known as cardiac output and is usually defined as liters per minute. Heart rate of course affects this output. In some patients a low heart rate can lead to a low output and cause symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath and fatigue. These symptoms are associated with low output heart failure. In other patients a low heart rate causes no effect whatsoever as the heart simply pumps out more blood with each beat to compensate.
Exercise And Heart Rate
Like any other muscle, your heart needs exercise to keep it fit and healthy. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health conditions, such as diabetes.
To keep your heart healthy, you should aim to do 150 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise a week. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor about what exercise and target heart rates are safe for you.
One way to measure the intensity of your exercise is by using your heart rate. To exercise at a low to moderate intensity your heart rate should be at 50 to 70% of your approximate maximum heart rate.
The easiest way to get an approximate maximum heart rate is to calculate 220 your age. You then need to calculate 50 to 70% of your MHR.
For example, if you’re 40-years-old:
- your approximate maximum heart rate is: 220 40 = 180 beats per minute
- 50% of your MHR is 180 X 0.5 = 90 bpm
- 70% of your MHF is 180 X 0.7 = 126 bpm.
Alternatively, you can use our heart rate chart below to get a rough idea.
Remember if you’re on medications to slow your heart rate down, you may not be able to meet these upper heart rates and the aim should be to exercise at a rate that makes you lightly puff.
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What’s A Normal Heart Rate
Most adults have a resting heart rate between 60 and 100bpm.
The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be. For example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60bpm, or lower.
See a GP to get checked if you think your heart rate is continuously above 120bpm or below 60bpm, although it may simply be that this is normal for you.
Find out more about how to check your pulse on the British Heart Foundation website.
What Is A Normal Heart Rate
A normal heart rate for adults is typically 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heart rate that is slower than 60 beats per minute is considered bradycardia and a rate that is faster than 100 beats per minutes is termed tachycardia . There are some experts who believe that an ideal resting heart rate is closer to 50 to 70 beats per minute. Regardless of what is considered normal, its important to recognize that a healthy heart rate will vary depending on the situation.
Among healthy people, a slower heart rate can be due to being physically fit, a medication, or sleep patterns. However, a slower heart rate can indicate a sign of disease including heart disease, certain infections, high levels of potassium in the blood, or an underactive thyroid.
On the reverse side, a fast rate in healthy people can be because they are exercising, nervous or excited, using a stimulant or are pregnant. The health conditions that are associated with a fast heart rate include most infections or just about any cause of fever, heart problems, certain medications, low levels of potassium in the blood, an overactive thyroid gland or too much thyroid medication, anemia, or asthma or other breathing trouble.
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What Your Heart Rate Says About Your Cardiovascular Health
Your heart is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body and if youre having heart troubles, the rest of your body will be impacted too.
A higher resting heart rate can be dangerous because it taxes the heart, making it work harder. This is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death, just like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Resting heart rates that near or exceed 100 should be brought to the attention of your doctor.
How To Determine Your Ideal Resting Heart Rate
Well-trained athletes may have a resting heart rate between 30 and 40 bpm. But everyones heart rate is different. Theres no ideal resting heart rate, even though a lower resting heart rate may mean youre more fit.
You can measure your resting heart rate at home. Take your resting heart rate by checking your pulse first thing in the morning.
- gently press the tips of your index and middle finger over the lateral part of your wrist, just below the thumb side of your hand
- count the beats for a full minute
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How To Measure Heart Rate
Measuring your heart rate is as simple as checking your pulse. You can find your pulse over your wrist or neck. Try measuring your radial artery pulse, which is felt over the lateral part your wrist, just below the thumb side of your hand.
To measure your heart rate, gently press the tips of your index and middle fingers over this blood vessel in your wrist. Make sure not to use your thumb, because it has its own pulse and may cause you to miscount. Count the beats you feel for a full minute.
You can also count for 30 seconds and multiply the count by two, or count for 10 seconds and multiply by six.
Alternatively, you can use a heart rate monitor, which determines your heart rate automatically. You can program it to tell you when youre above or below your target range.
Other Heart Electrical Issues
If the heart is unable to send electrical signals due to a blockage or heart disease, this can lead to bradycardia.
Complete heart block is when there is a total loss of communication between a persons atria and the ventricles. This occurs when the SA node is unable to pass a signal to the AV node.
Complete heart block results in a persons atria and ventricles activating independently of each other. If a person does not receive treatment for complete heart block quickly, it can be fatal.
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Which Is The Best Way To Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
You can measure your heart rate manually, and the procedure is very simple. The most convenient place to measure it is on your wrist. First, you have to locate the pulse or beat by pressing the side of your wrist below the thumb. Press gently on that place for exactly 30 seconds and double the beats. This gives you your heart rate in beats per minute . If you feel your beat is a bit irregular, count it till 60 seconds.
The best time to measure your resting heart rate is as soon as you get up in the morning, preferably after a good nights sleep.
Do Calculations Differ For Women And Men
Womens and mens hearts respond a little differently to exercise, so there are slightly different calculations to find the precise target heart rate for women versus men.
But experts say those variations are only really useful for elite athletes who are looking to get super specific. Casual exercisers can stick to using the same basic target heart rate calculation.
Dont feel like pulling out the calculator or want to check the math you just did? Heres a general idea of what your target heart rate should look like for moderate or vigorous exercise, based on your age.
If youre not into crunching numbers, youve got other options for figuring out whether youre moving at the right intensity.
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Who Does It Affect
Bradycardia can happen to people of any age and background but is more common in adults over 65. It’s less common in younger adults and children because your heart rate naturally slows down as you get older. The exception is when it happens because of certain conditions you’re born with .
It is also more common in people with certain conditions, some of which you can inherit from your parents, or if you take certain types of medication. It can also happen because of injuries to your chest or because of nutrition problems and eating disorders.
Is Bradycardia An Arrhythmia
Bradycardia is an arrhythmia because it is slower than the typical rate. The normal heart rate range for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Sinus rhythm is when your heart is beating regularly and normally. Sinus bradycardia means that your heart is beating regularly, but slower than normal. Sinus bradycardia is usually a benign arrhythmia . That means while it’s slower than expected, it also isn’t harmful.
While bradycardia is a medical condition on its own, it often happens along with or because of other conditions. In those cases, bradycardia is often treated more like a symptom than a separate condition.
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Your Resting Heart Rate
When you are at rest, your heart is pumping the lowest amount of blood to supply the oxygen your body’s needs. For most healthy adult women and men, resting heart rates range from 60 to 100 beats per minute. However, a 2010 report from the Women’s Health Initiative indicated that a resting heart rate at the low end of that spectrum may offer some protection against heart attacks. When WHI researchers examined data on 129,135 postmenopausal women, they found that those with the highest resting heart ratesmore than 76 beats per minutewere 26% more likely to have a heart attack or die from one than those with the lowest resting heart rates62 beats per minute or less. If your resting heart rate is consistently above 80 beats per minute, you might want to talk to your doctor about how your heart rate and other personal factors influence your risk for cardiovascular disease.
What Is The Fat
Exercising in the fat-burning zone may not be the best way to lose weight.
On large fitness equipment and some fitness trackers, you might notice something called the fat-burning zone. The fat-burning zone often refers to zones 2 and 3, where you are working out at a lower to moderate intensity level. In this zone, your body is likely to burn proportionately more calories from fat than from carbohydrates, hence the name.
Does that mean that working out in this supposed fat-burning is the best way to go about losing weight? Not really. Losing weight is a matter of burning more total calories than you take in. At a higher heart rate, youll burn more calories overall , even if more of those calories come from carbs. If your goal is to lose weight, youre better off working at a higher heart rate to burn more calories than you are focusing on burning fat specifically.
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What Is Your Pulse
When your heart beats it pushes blood around your body. This heartbeat can be felt as your ‘pulse’ on your wrist or neck
Your pulse is measured by counting the number of times your heart beats in one minute. For example, if your heart contracts 72 times in one minute, your pulse would be 72 beats per minute . This is also called your heart rate.
A normal pulse beats in a steady, regular rhythm. However, in some people this rhythm is uneven, or ‘jumps about’. This is known as an irregular pulse.
The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Heart Rate
Blood pressure and heart rate are two different measurements. While they are frequently measured at the same time in the doctors office, they are distinctly different factors in heart health.
Blood pressure is the force exerted against the artery walls when blood pumps through the body, usually measured with two numbers. The top number measures the pressure as the heart beats and moves blood into the arteries. The bottom number measures the pressure as the heart relaxes between beats. A blood pressure reading of 120/80 is considered normal.
Heart rate, also called pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Heart rate can change based on activity level, age, medication, and other factors throughout life. For most adults, a resting heart rate of 50 to 100 beats per minute is considered normal. People who exercise regularly often have lower resting heart rates.
In some situations, such as periods of acute stress or danger, blood pressure and heart rate may both increase at the same time, but thats not always the case. Your heart rate can increase without any change occurring in your blood pressure. As your heart beats faster, healthy blood vessels will expand in size to allow increased blood flow, which helps your blood pressure remain relatively stable. This is often true during exercise, when your heart rate can increase substantially but your blood pressure may only change slightly.
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