Resting Heart Rate Chart By Age And Gender
A resting heart rate chart shows the normal range for resting heart rate by age and physical condition. Athletes, those who are physically active, tend to have a lower RHR than those who are less active.
The average heart rate generally increases with age. But many factors determine your heart rate at any moment. These factors include the time of day, your activity level, and your stress level.
What Affects The Test
You may not be able to feel your pulse or count your pulse correctly if you:
- Have decreased sensation in your fingers.
- Are not using the right amount of pressure. Too much pressure can slow the heart rate, and too little pressure can cause you to miss some beats.
- Are trying to take your pulse in an area that is covered by too much muscle or fat.
- Are using your thumb to take your pulse. Your thumb has its own pulse, which will interfere with your counting.
- Are moving too much while trying to take your pulse.
What Is A Good Resting Heart Rate By Age
A healthy resting heart rate is about 60 beats per minute, but this number varies with age. The normal range for a resting heart rate is between 60 bpm and 100 bpm. Well-conditioned athletes, however, could have a resting heart rate of around 40 bpm.
If having a low resting heart is key for health and longevity, how can you lower your resting heart rate naturally?
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Target Heart Rates Chart
What should your heart rate be when working out, and how can you keep track of it? Our simple chart will help keep you in the target training zone, whether you want to lose weight or just maximize your workout. Find out what normal resting and maximum heart rates are for your age and how exercise intensity and other factors affect heart rate.
How To Lower Your Heart Rate In The Moment
If your heart rate has seemingly spiked without cause, there are a few things you can do to bring it back down to a normal level:
- Make sure your surroundings are cool and comfortable. High temperatures and humidity can increase blood flow and heart rate.
- Emotional upset can raise your heart rate. Slow, measured breathing can help bring it back down.
- If youre going from sitting to standing, make sure to rise slowly. Standing up too quickly can bring about dizziness and cause your heart rate to increase.
Other approaches can be effective in lowering your heart rate in the short term and over time.
Practicing mindfulness can help lower your heart rate in the moment, as well as lower your overall resting heart rate. After a 12-week mindfulness course, participants in one study had lower heart rates overall and were able to physically cover more distance during a standard six-minute walk test.
If youre familiar with yoga, practicing a few poses may also help lower your heart rate. Research also suggests that practitioners of yoga can develop the ability to voluntarily lower their heart rate.
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Increase In Resting Heart Rate Is A Signal Worth Watching
- By Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
When you sit quietly, your heart slips into the slower, steady pace known as your resting heart rate. An increase in your resting heart rate over time may be a signal of heart trouble ahead.
Your heart rate changes from minute to minute. It depends on whether you are standing up or lying down, moving around or sitting still, stressed or relaxed. Your resting heart rate, though, tends to be stable from day to day. The usual range for resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 90 beats per minute. Above 90 is considered high.
Many factors influence your resting heart rate. Genes play a role. Aging tends to speed it up. Regular exercise tends to slow your heart rate down. Stress, medications, and medical conditions also influence your resting heart rate.
Results of observational research studies support a link between health and heart rate. Researchers from Norway previously reported the results of a large study looking at changes in resting heart rate over 10 years. They recruited more than 29,000 people without any history or heart disease, high blood pressure, or any other type of cardiovascular disorder, and measured their resting heart rates when they started the study and again 10 years later. This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
How to lower your resting heart rate
The Experts Say: Do More Cardio
The good news is that there are some easy steps anyone can take to calm the heart down. One of the most effective ways is to practice relaxation, deep breathing techniques and meditation. Many find it helpful to go for a walk in the nature or do mindful workouts. A warm shower or bath can also provide prompt assistance.
Sorry, wine-drinkers, but alcohol has the same dehydrating effect on the body as coffee.
Coffee-lovers should take note that stimulants like caffeine can cause dehydration, which in turn makes the heart work harder to stabilize the blood flow. Also alcohol delivers toxins into the body, making the heart work harder to process and remove them.
If youre looking for a way to lower your RHR in an effective and more permanent way, the experts advice is unanimous: do more cardio.
While strength training, too, makes the heart stronger, it is cardiovascular exercise which, over time, increases the hearts efficiency to regulate blood flow and distribute the oxygen which our bodies need for their systems.
Studies have found that if an aerobic exercise is performed for a long time, it will affect the parasympathetic nerve, thus increasing stroke volume and lowering the resting heart rate.
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Can Resting Heart Rate Be Too Low
While less common, some people may have a resting heart rate that falls lower than 60 beats per minute.
“When a person’s heart muscle is in excellent condition, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep a steady beat. Therefore, people who exercise frequently and are very physically fit can have a resting heart rate that falls below 60 beats per minute. In fact, a trained athlete’s resting heart rate can be as low as 40 beats per minute,” explains Dr. Chebrolu.
Additionally, medications, specifically beta blockers, can also slow your heart rate.
“The time to worry about a low heart rate is if you’re not very active and you’re not taking medications but your resting heart rate frequently falls below 60 beats per minute, especially if you’re also experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath or fainting,” warns Dr. Chebrolu. “This can be a sign of bradycardia a slower than normal heart rate that can lead to poor oxygen flow to your vital organs.”
How Do I Check My Resting Heart Rate
To check your heart rate:
- Sit down and rest for 5 minutes.
- Turn your wrist so your palm is facing up.
- Feel for a pulse at thumb side of your wrist.
- Once you feel it, count how many times you feel a beat in 30 seconds. Then double it.
If you cant find your pulse at your wrist, put 2 fingers on the side of your neck, next to the windpipe.
If you still cant find a pulse, ask someone else to feel it for you.
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Analyzing Your Resting Heart Rate
The point of measuring your resting heart rate is to evaluate your recovery status and the development of your aerobic fitness. When you do the test under the same or very similar circumstances, it will help you monitor your current recovery status, possible overload state and whether your fitness has improved.
As your level of fitness improves, your resting heart rate typically goes down about 12 beats for every 2 months.
It is not uncommon that your resting heart rate is up by 25, sometimes even 57, beats per minute during hard training periods compared to a well-recovered state.
During a less intensive week, the resting heart rate should fall back to where it was during the previous less intensive week, or hopefully even slightly below that. As your level of fitness improves, your resting heart rate typically goes down about 12 beats for every 2 months.
For beginners, it might be even more if they simultaneously lose weight and improve their nutrition.
If you want an easy way to gauge your current fitness level, consider taking the Polar Fitness Test regularly.
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Heart Rate Tips To Keep In Mind
- Start at your beginning. Before getting overly concerned about your heart rate, Martin says, its best to simply get moving. If you havent exercised much before, start where youre comfortable and gradually exert yourself more over time.
- Listen to your body. Your body provides other indicators of how hard its working that you need to consider along with heart rate. Pay attention to how hard youre breathing or sweating, and stop if you feel very uncomfortable, Martin says. Devices recording your heart rate have been known to malfunction, for exampleanother reason listening to your body is important.
- Remember that target heart rate is just a guide. Dont get overly fixated on numbers, Martin says. Ideally, they just push you to work a little harder.
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How To Check Your Pulse
You can check your pulse at your neck or at your wrist. For most people, checking your pulse is easiest at your wrist.
- Simply take your index and middle finger just under the fat pad of your thumb area.
- Gently move your fingers around until you feel the throb of your heart beat.
- Count your pulse for 15 seconds then multiply that number by 4.
You can also take your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to get your RHR. Either method will give you your RHR which is based on number of beats per minute.
The Evidence Suggests: Intervals Rock
But how high does the heart rate need to go and for how long do you need to keep it up? There is some evidence to support the superiority of interval training as a tool for permanently lowering the RHR. In practice, this means alternating intensive workouts with either easier ones or with periods of rest.
Indoors this could mean plyometric exercises or a workout that mixes high-cardio exercises like high-knee jogging, jumping jacks, or tuck jumps with, for example, bodyweight strength training moves like push-ups or sit-ups.
Wearing a heart rate monitor can be helpful and serve as an unbiased friend that tells you if you indeed are pushing yourself enough in the cardio and whether the strength moves are sufficient for dropping the beats.
Interval training does not necessarily need to take place indoors. A great way to get fresh air as well as some serious heart-healthy exercise is to hop on a bicycle or hit the trails. If youre serious about shooting for the heart rate peaks, dont walk up the hills sprint to the top! If you feel like you could build some more strength, try these plyometric exercises to tackle hill running.
What if interval training just isnt your thing?
Whatever exercise it is that you do, you are actively making your heart a whole lot happier and healthier.
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What Is Your Activity Level
Your target heart rate depends on how physically fit you are. For example, if you are not active and not physically fit, your target heart rate is a little lower than the target heart rate of someone who exercises every day. This tool gives you a range of what your target heart rate is, based on how much you usually exercise.
To find your target heart rate range, you will choose the category that best matches your level of physical activity. The categories are:
- Not active. You do less than 30 minutes of light activity no more than 2 times a week. Cleaning house, slow walking, and playing golf are examples of light activity.
- Moderately active. You do up to 30 minutes of light to moderate activity 3 to 5 times a week. Brisk walking, jogging, riding a bike, swimming, and playing tennis are examples of moderate activity.
- Very active. You do more than 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 times a week.
Normal Resting Heart Rate
The chart below shows the normal range of a resting heart rate in beats per minute, according to age. Many things can cause changes in your normal heart rate, including your age, activity level, and the time of day.
Your pulse usually has a strong steady or regular rhythm. Your blood vessel should feel soft. An occasional pause or extra beat is normal. Normally, your heart rate will speed up a little when you breathe deeply. You can check this normal change in your pulse rate by changing your breathing pattern while taking your pulse.
Many conditions can change your pulse rate. Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results that may be related to your symptoms and past health.
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How To Think About Your Heart Rate
Heart rates not useless as a measure of health, but its not a very precise measure of health, Allison said. Your heart rate can be affected by many factors, including age, medication, stress levels, sleep, physical activity, diet and hydration.
Consider this example: A heart rate less than 60 is great if its achieved by being fit, Allison said. But it would be a problem if you have an underlying medical condition thats causing your heart to beat more slowly.
Similarly, he said, an elevated heart rate could be a triggered by something benign, such as excitement, or it could be your body signaling that you might be coming down with an illness, such as covid-19.
The experts advise talking to your primary care provider if your heart rate is consistently higher or lower than expected. But if dramatic changes in your heart rate are accompanied by symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness or shortness of breath, you should seek medical care. The more persistent the symptoms are, the faster you need attention, Allison said.
One thing you shouldnt do: measure your heart rate against others. If youre comparing, Oh, my heart rates two beats lower than yours, so Im healthier. Im going to live longer well, no, Allison said.
Allison agreed. We have to remember that maintaining good health is about behaviors, he said, not taking tests.
What Is Bradycardia
The official bradycardia definition according to Harvard Medical School is an abnormally slow heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute. Each time the heart beats, oxygen-rich blood is pumped through the body. When you have an extremely low resting heart rate, your organs may not receive enough oxygen to operate properly.
However, a low heartbeat of 50 beats per minute may be normal for some elite athletes and some people who are extremely active. For these people, their bodies have adapted to a low heart rate and their body is efficiently pumping blood. Nevertheless, even people who are physically fit should have any signs of bradycardia evaluated by a physician.
Sinus bradycardia occurs when this condition starts in the sinus node, the natural pacemaker of the heart. Bradycardia may start here if electrical impulses that trigger the heart rate are not occurring as they should. This includes a slower than normal impulse, a failed impulse, an irregular impulse, or an impulse thats blocked. Some individuals may experience sinus node problems that cause alternating bradycardia and tachycardia.
While bradycardia and tachycardia sound similar, they are polar opposites. Tachycardia is a condition where the resting heart rate is faster than normal. There are several types of tachycardia including atrial fibrillation, SVT and others and if you are experiencing an abnormally slow or an abnormally fast heart rate, call 911.
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What Is Your Pulse
When your heart beats it pushes blood around your body. This heart beat 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.
How To Monitor Your Heart Rate
Outside of directions from a physician, how often you want to check your heart rate is an individual choice that largely depends on how useful the information is to you, experts said.
Rather than focusing on the fixed heart rate number at a specific moment, it may be better to keep track of trends and observe how your heart rate is changing, said Thomas Allison, director of the Sports Cardiology Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
If you see rather persistent trends in your heart rate up or down, or you see sudden change, that might be of concern, he said, particularly if youre not feeling well.
It may also be helpful to monitor your heart rate if youre starting a new fitness program to gauge improvement and make sure you arent overdoing it, Allison said. We know that with training, with cardiovascular conditioning, your heart rate gets slower, and so you can track your improvement there, he said. If youre over training and working too hard and not getting enough rest, you might see the heart rate drift back up again.
During exercise, Khan said she encourages people to get their heart rate up to at least 50 percent of their estimated maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus your age.
But dont obsess over your heart rate, Allison said. It may give you a false degree of concern or a false sense of security, he said.
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