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What Is a Normal Heart Rate?


Saturday, July 11th, 2015

This post was last updated on June 23, 2016

Have you ever wondered what a normal heart rate is? Well, you aren’t alone. Your pulse, or heart rate, is the number of times your heart beats each minute.

It is important to know that your normal heart rate can be different from other people.

What Is a Normal Heart Rate?

What’s normal depends on your age and activity level, but generally a resting heart rate of 60-80 beats per minute (BPM) is considered to be in the normal range. If you are an athlete, a normal resting heart rate can be as low as 40 BPM.

Did you know your #heartrate differs from others depending on age and activity level? Click To Tweet

How To Calculate Resting Heart Rate

To check your normal resting heart rate, you can use a heart rate monitor, or use this 10-second pulse count method:

  • Take your pulse at either the base of your thumb on the palm side of your wrist, or the base of your neck on either side of your windpipe.
  • Using two or three fingers, press lightly on your skin until you can feel your blood moving underneath.
  • Count the beats for 10 seconds, then multiply that number by six.

RELATED: Everyday Ways to Help Your Heart

What Is a Healthy Resting Heart Rate?

For most adults, normal heart rate is 60 to 80 BPM. Well-trained athletes can have a normal heart rate of 40 to 60 BPM.

What Should My Active Heart Rate Be?

When you work out, your heart rate will get higher. This is called your active heart rate. Active heart rates, like resting heart rates, differ in people and change as you age.
Generally, a healthy active heart rate is 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, or the highest your heart rate should safely go. This is called your maximum heart rate. A guideline for calculating your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220, like this:
220 – your age = your maximum heart rate

Estimated target heart rates

This table shows estimated target heart rates for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.

In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rate. Heart rate during moderately intense activities is about 50-69 percent of your maximum heart rate, whereas heart rate during hard physical activity is about 70 percent to less than 90 percent of the maximum heart rate.

The figures are averages, so use them as general guidelines.

Learn howto find your target heart rate

» Learn how to use a heart rate monitor while you’re exercising.Table provided by the American Heart Association

Does Heart Rate Increase Or Decrease With Age?

As you grow older, your resting heart rate does not change very much, though your heart can’t beat as fast during physical activity or stress as it did when you were younger, according to the National Institute on Aging.

RELATED: Five Tips for A Healthy Heart

Irregular Heart Rate Causes

Many factors can contribute to an abnormally high heart rate, including:

  • Age
  • Medications
  • Fitness level
  • Stress
  • Body size
  • Body position

If your resting heart rate changes drastically, talk to your doctor. A higher resting heart rate can be a sign of a heart problem, so if you are an adult with a resting heart rate of 80 to 100 BPM, you might be at risk.

Keeping track of your heart rate can help you improve your overall health and adjust your exercise routine to stay healthy. Want to learn more about your heart? Visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute online.

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Heart and Vascular Institute

As a recognized leader in cardiovascular care — with a rich history in clinical research and innovation — the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute offers a full spectrum of personalized cardiovascular services. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the United States, UPMC has made significant contributions to the advancement of cardiovascular medicine. Read More