Is Your Heart Rate Normal?

May 7th 2016

Heart rates that are too low or too high may cause health problems. Consult with your doctor if your resting heart rate drops below 60 or rises above 100 for a consistent period of time. Doctors call lower-than-normal heart rates bradycardia, and higher-than-usual heart rates tachycardia.

Normal Heart Rate Ranges

The normal heart rate for adults generally ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. This means your heart normally beats one to two times per second. Calculate your resting heart rate by placing your index and middle fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. Count the number of heartbeats in 15 seconds and multiply that number by four to arrive at the beats per minute. Check your pulse along your wrist by locating the radial artery on the thumb side of the joint.

Factors That Alter Heart Rate

A few factors alter your resting heart rate, including age, stress, body size, medications and overall state of health. In general, your heartbeat gets slower as you age and slower as you become more physically fit.

Normal ranges for different ages are as follows: Infants up to 1 month of age have normal heart rates between 70 and 190 beats per minute; babies between 1 and 11 months, 80 to 160 beats per minute; toddlers aged 1 and 2, 80 to 130 beats per minute; children between 3 and 5 have a heart rate of 80 to 120 beats per minute; children 5 and 6 usually have 75 to 115 beats per minute; and children between age 7 and 9, 70 to 110.

Starting at age 10, humans typically fall within adult ranges. Adult athletes, often ideal specimens in terms of heart efficiency, breathing and muscle tone, can have resting heart rates as low as 40 beats per minute.

Active Heart Rates

To achieve better physical fitness, an individual ought to aim for a target heart rate at 50 to 85 percent of their maximum heart rate. To determine this, take 220 beats per minute, or a human's maximum heart rate, and subtract your age. For instance, a 40-year-old has a target heart rate of approximately 180 beats per minute during exercise.

Lowering a Rapid Heart Rate

Lower a rapid heart rate by sitting down and taking slow, deep breaths. Exercise generally lowers your heart rate after health is improved. Activities such as sitting up, standing, and performing normal daily routines increase your heart rate naturally.


Doctors measure the normal range of a resting heart rate by counting the number of beats per minute. The easiest time to measure your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning, while lying in bed, as your body has not had any physical activity. Several factors influence how your heart rate goes up or down.

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