How To Measure Your Heart Rate
The best time to measure your pulse is in the morning, before you get out of bed and before you’ve had your morning coffee or tea.
You can check your heart rate at your wrist. Lightly place your second and third fingers of one hand on the inside of your other wrist, below the base of your thumb. You should feel your pulse under your fingertips. Count the number of beats in one minute. Repeat to make sure you get a consistent reading.
How To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate
When your resting heart rate is in the normal heart rate range for your age, your heart muscle doesnt have to work as hard to pump enough blood to keep a steady beat.
If someone notices an increase in their heart rate within a certain periodafter not being physically active for a year or two, for examplebut other things havent changed much with their health, the elevated heart rate could indicate they may need to be more active to lower the heart rate, says Dr. Tilahun.
If your resting heart rate is higher than the normal adult heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute, regular activity is key to bringing the heart rate down. That activity could be exercise, but it doesnt have to be dedicated exercise. It could be walking, gardening, mowing the lawn or other regular activities, says Tilahun.
When youre doing the activity, the heart rate is going to be higher, and people sometimes get worried. But thats not an issueits whats supposed to happen. Over time, regular activity will lower the heart rate for most people, he adds.
How Is Resting Heart Rate Calculated
Measuring your resting heart rate is as easy as checking your pulse, which can be felt on the side of your neck or the underside of your wrist .
While sitting down and once you feel your pulse count the number of beats you feel over the span of 30 seconds . Multiply this number by two to calculate your heart beats per minute.
“To get an accurate representation of your resting heart rate, repeat this process a few times and over the course of a few days,” adds Dr. Chebrolu.
She also advises against checking your heart rate immediately after a stressful event, strenuous activity or consuming caffeine, which can lead to temporary elevation in your heart rate.
Additionally, most wearable fitness trackers and smart watches provide insights into your heart rate. And since these devices collect measurements throughout the day, they’re a simple way to effortlessly monitor your average resting heart rate.
“The heart rate measurements taken by wearable devices may not be as reliable as checking your pulse by hand, but they can help you track general trends and spot changes in your resting heart rate,” says Dr. Chebrolu.
And while some smartwatches now come with an ECG feature that can help monitor for heart rhythm issues, these devices alone cannot detect a life-threatening arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation .
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How Do I Get My Heart Rate In The Target Zone
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? Theres a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bullseye so you can get max benefit from every step, swing and squat. Even if youre not a gym rat or elite athlete, knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness level.
Women May Have A Higher Resting Heart Rate Than Men
Research has found that women up to 55 years old have a higher resting heart rate when compared with men. According to the American College of Cardiology, this may have something to do with the difference in sex hormones, especially testoserone, which is higher in men.
Parwani says some data has shown that sex hormones, body size, and heart size can have an effect on the differences in heart rate between men and women. But there are many factors that may influence someoneâs heart rate, including:
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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:
Normal Resting Heart Rate For Adults
According to the American Heart Association , a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 bpm . But some people may have a resting heart rate thats lower than 60 bpm and is still considered normal.
For example, athletes may find their heart rates are lower, sometimes as low as 40 bpm. Additionally, people taking certain medications, like beta-blockers, may also have a lower resting heart rate. Well explore more factors that can influence resting heart rate later on.
The table below shows the average normal resting heart rate for adults based on age.
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What Should Your Resting Heart Rate Be
Out of all the health stats to keep your eye on, your resting heart rate might feel like one of the more boring ones.
Seeing your heart rate rise while you’re exercising can be a confidence boost, letting you know you’re getting a good workout in. Checking it when your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest is a fun reminder of just how anxiety-inducing some everyday situations can be like going on a first date or watching sports.
But when you’re just sitting down binge-watching some TV or typing away at your computer checking your resting heart rate can feel…anti-climactic.
And yet, it’s important to do now and then. A healthy heart is a strong heart, after all.
“Monitoring your resting heart rate is important because it can help provide clues about your overall heart health. For instance, a consistently high resting heart rate can be a sign that your heart isn’t working as efficiently as it could be. In some cases, it can even be a sign of an underlying heart condition,” explains Dr. Bindu Chebrolu, cardiologist at Houston Methodist.
Plus, one of the benefits of knowing your resting heart rate is that there are ways to lower it if it is too high.
How To Measure Heart Rate
The easiest places to measure your heart rate, according to the AHA, are:
- side of the neck
- top of the foot
For an accurate reading of your pulse rate, put two fingers over one of the areas listed above and count the number of beats in 60 seconds. You can also do this for 20 seconds and multiply by three, which may be easier, Bauman told Live Science. Note that using your thumb may be confusing because sometimes you can feel a pulse in the thumb, she said.
You can also use one of the best budget fitness trackers to get a reading, but the accuracy on these devices varies.
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What Is A Healthy Resting Heart Rate For An Adult
A normal resting heart rate for adults lies somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute , and varies based on age group and gender. Womenâs heart rates are about 2-7 BPM faster than menâs on average.
Generally speaking, you want to keep your resting heart rate as low as possible. One large, long-term study compared men with heart rates above 90 and those below 80. The men with higher average heart rates were associated with triple the risk of death.
People with lower heart rates tend to be more active and get more exercise than others. A young, highly-trained athleteâs healthy resting heart rate may be as low as 40 BPM.
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Typical Heart Rates For Children
Children typically have higher heart rates than adults. As a child gets older, their heart rate progressively slows down. Specific ranges for ideal resting heart rates in children may vary. The usual resting heart rates for children are based on the 10th through 90th percentiles in a meta review of nearly 60 studies.
|15-18 years||58-92 bpm|
Research suggests that like adults, childrens heart rates are typically lower during sleep. For example, while children aged 6 to 8 years old may have resting heart rates of 74 to 111 bpm when awake, their sleeping heart rate might range from 67 to 89 bpm. Female children, younger children, and children with obesity tend to have faster sleeping heart rates.
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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 youâre 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 youâre 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 Is Target Heart Rate
You get the most benefits when you exercise in your ”target heart rate zone.” Usually, this is when your heart rate is 60% to 80% of your maximum. In some cases, your doctor may decrease your target heart rate zone to around 50%.
Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. They can help you find a routine and target heart rate zone that match your needs, goals, and overall health.
When you start an exercise program, you may need to slowly build up to your target heart rate zone, especially if you havenât exercised regularly before. If the exercise feels too hard, slow down. Youâll lower your risk of injury and enjoy the exercise more if you don’t try to overdo it.
When you exercise, take a break and check your pulse regularly to find out whether youâre in your target zone. If your pulse is below your target zone, step up the intensity of your workout.
American Heart Association: âBlood Pressure vs. Heart Rate ,â âKnow Your Target Heart Rates for Exercise, Losing Weight and Health,â âAll About Heart Rate .â
Harvard Health Publishing: âWant to check your heart rate? Hereâs how,â âIncrease in resting heart rate is a signal worth watching.â
Journal of the American College of Cardiology: âCardiac function in smokers and nonsmokers: The CARDIA study. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study.â
Hackensack Meridian Health: â6 Proven Ways to Lower Your Resting Heart Rate.â
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Keep Your Doctor Informed Of Your Resting Heart Rate
This article is not meant to diagnose or treat you. Its intended to help you understand one aspect of your health, your resting heart rate. This article is based on scientific research, but science is continually changing. Thus, this information is subject to change.
Everyone is different and has unique circumstances. Consult with your medical provider before making any changes in your health, diet, and exercise.
Read my full medical disclaimer here.
Diagnosing The Underlying Cause
Your doctor may use a variety of diagnostic tools to help diagnose your condition, including:
- Holter or event monitor. This is a smaller, portable EKG machine you wear for a set amount of time to help your doctor monitor your electrocardiographic signals.
- Electrocardiogram. Also referred to as an ECG or EKG, this diagnostic tool uses small electrodes to record the electrical activity of your heart. Your doctor can use the information collected to determine if heart abnormalities are contributing to your condition.
- Stress test. Sometimes called a treadmill test or excercise test, this can help diagnose people whose symptoms may be exercise related.
- A tilt-table test. This measures how your blood pressure and heart rate respond when you go from lying down to standing up. People dealing with fainting spells are usually candidates for a tilt-table test.
- Imaging tests. Imaging can be used to assess if there are any structural abnormalities in your heart that may be contributing to your condition. Possible imaging tests can include echocardiogram, CT scan, and MRI scan.
- Electrophysiologictesting. Done under local anesthesia, this procedure involves temporary electrode catheters being threaded through veins or arteries into the heart to record the hearts electrical signals.
Once a diagnosis is made, your doctor will work with you to develop a plan to treat and manage your condition.
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Is A Resting Heart Rate Of 55 Good
Resting heart rate is a quick way to determine how efficiently your heart is working. What is considered normal can vary greatly from person to person. Your RHR is the amount of blood your heart pumps when you’re not exercising. If you’re sitting or lying down, calm and relaxed and not sick, your heart rate should be between 50 and 100 beats per minute .
- Suppose your RHR is consistently lower than 60 bpm . In that case, you have bradycardia , which may be a sign of excellent physical fitness or maybe a sign of illness, in which case it can be accompanied by light-headedness, dizziness or chest discomfort.
- If your RHR is significantly lower than 60 bpm and you don’t feel well, you should see a doctor and get an electrocardiography.
- If your RHR is consistently above 100 bpm, you have tachycardia and should see a doctor, especially if you have other symptoms such as chest tightness, fatigue, or shortness of breath.
- Fast RHR can indicate various conditions. You could be dehydrated or have poor physical fitness, or it could be a sign of something more serious going on with your heart or lungs.
Checking your RHR is a noninvasive way to assess your health. Take your RHR after waking up for three consecutive mornings.
The best results will be obtained immediately upon waking however, if this is not possible, ensure that you rest quietly and distress for at least 15 minutes before determining your beats per minute.
What Is A Normal Sleeping Heart Rate
Dr. Abhinav Singh, Sleep Physician
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We regularly assess how the content in this article aligns with current scientific literature and expert recommendations in order to provide the most up-to-date research.
Your heart rate fluctuates throughout the day, based on activity levels and emotions. Stress and exercise can raise heart rate, while sleeping can lower it. A normal heart rate while sleeping is often between 40 to 50 beats per minute , though there is variability between individuals.
We discuss what is considered a normal sleeping heart rate for each age range, as well as share signs to look out for that may indicate an underlying condition.
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How To Get Heart Rate Into A Normal Range
People whose heart rate falls outside their normal range should focus on why this happens, rather than trying to reach a particular number of BPM. Talk to a doctor before trying to change the heart rate.
In general, a healthful lifestyle may help a person remain healthy during pregnancy and can support a normal heart rate.
Target Heart Rate And Estimated Maximum Heart Rate
One way of checking physical activity intensity is to determine whether your pulse or heart rate is within the target zone during physical activity.1
For moderate-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 64% and 76%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate based on your age. To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 50 years = 170 beats per minute . The 64% and 76% levels would be:
- 64% level: 170 x 0.64 = 109 bpm, and
- 76% level: 170 x 0.76 = 129 bpm
This shows that moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person will require that the heart rate remains between 109 and 129 bpm during physical activity.
For vigorous-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 77% and 93%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. To figure out this range, follow the same formula used above, except change 64 and 76% to 77 and 93%. For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 35 years = 185 beats per minute . The 77% and 93% levels would be:
- 77% level: 185 x 0.77 = 142 bpm, and
- 93% level: 185 x 0.93 = 172 bpm
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