Heart Health: What Is a Healthy and Normal Heart Rate for My Age?

It's important to know what heart rate is healthy and normal at every age in your life.

Why Does a Good Resting Heart Rate Matter?

It's important to know what heart rate is healthy and normal at every age in your life. Your heart rate, or pulse, can guide you to discover dangerous health conditions that need expert care, such as some heart problems. But your normal resting heart rate changes throughout your life as you age. Read this guide to learn more about your pulse through every step of your life.

You can measure your heart rate by finding your pulse.

How to Take Your Heart Rate

You can measure your heart rate by finding your pulse. The pulsating rhythm of your blood—your pulse—matches the movements of your heart and indicates your heart rate. Using your middle and index finger, press firmly in an area of your body that has a pulse. One of the most common places to take your pulse is on the inside of your wrist. Other body parts that reveal your pulse include:

  • The side of your neck
  • The pit opposite your elbow
  • The base of your toe

Once you locate your pulse, using a stopwatch, begin counting each beat for 60 seconds. Alternatively, you can count the beats for 15 seconds and multiply your results by 4. This measurement indicates your approximate resting heart rate.

A normal resting heart rate for adults lies somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM), and varies based on age group and gender.

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 (BPM), and varies based on age group and gender. Women's heart rates are about 2-7 BPM faster than men's 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 athlete's healthy resting heart rate may be as low as 40 BPM.

When you are young, your healthy heart rate can be much faster than when you get older.

What Is a Healthy Resting Heart Rate for a Child?

When you are young, your healthy heart rate can be much faster than when you get older. Here are several good heart rate ranges for children according to their age:

  • Newborn: 100-160 bpm
  • 0-5 months: 90-150 bpm
  • 6-12 months: 80-140 bpm
  • 1-3 years: 80-130 bpm
  • 3-5 years: 80-120 bpm
  • 6-10 years: 70-110 bpm
  • 11-14 years: 60-105 bpm
There are many possible causes for elevated heart rate in adults, also known as tachycardia.

What Causes Elevated Resting Heart Rates?

There are many possible causes for elevated heart rate in adults, also known as tachycardia. Some causes that result from daily life include:

  • Aging
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Drinking coffee or smoking (soon after)
  • Sitting or standing (slightly, as compared to lying down)
  • Frequent binge drinking
  • Living in a hot and humid climate
  • Certain medications

Some daily causes can develop into medical emergencies. For example, heavy binge drinking can lead to an emergency medical condition known as atrial fibrillation. There are several other medical causes as well. Medical causes of elevated heart rate include:

Sometimes the heart rate rises for no known reason, often following a bout with a serious illness. This is called "inappropriate sinus tachycardia," and is more common in women in their 20s and 30s.

If you have a high resting heart rate with no medical causes, regular exercise is a great way to lower it long term.

How Can I Lower My Resting Heart Rate?

If you have a high resting heart rate with no medical causes, regular exercise is a great way to lower it long term. Typically speaking, people who exercise regularly have lower resting heart rates than others. The CDC recommends that adults exercise at least 150 minutes each week, in a mixture of both strength building and aerobic exercises.

Normal heart rates will differ from person to person based on these factors.

Chart: How Do I Know If My Heart Rate Is Normal?

What is considered a "normal" heart rate depends on how old you are and the amount of physical activity and work you do. As a result, normal heart rates will differ from person to person based on these factors.

The accompanying chart gives normal heart rate ranges by age.

Using this chart of heart rate averages by men, you can compare your resting heart rate with others in your age group.

Chart: Resting Heart Rate Values for Adult Men*

Are you in great shape? Here's one way to find out. Using this chart of heart rate averages by men, you can compare your resting heart rate with others in your age group.

*NOTE: Women's heart rates are faster than these listed by an average of 2-7 BPM.

Resting heart rate values for men (beats per minute)
 

Age (in years)

 

18-25 

 

26-35


36-45


46-55


56-65


65+

 

Athlete

 

40-52 

 

44-50

 

47-53

 

49-54

 

51-56

 

52-55

 

Excellent

 

56-61 


55-61


57-62

 

58-63

 

57-61


56-61

 

Good

 

62-65 

 

62-65

 

63-66

 

64-67

 

62-67

 

62-65

 

Above Average

 

66-69 

 

66-70

 

67-70

 

68-71

 

68-71

 

66-69

 

Average

 

70-73 

 

71-74

 

71-75

 

72-76

 

72-75

 

70-73

 

Below Average

 

74-81 

 

75-81


76-82


77-83


76-81


74-79

 

Poor

 

82+

 

82+

 

83+


84+


82+


80+

Exercise is necessary for good health, but you don't want to overdo it and waste your fitness potential.

Fitness Chart: What Is Your Target Heart Rate Zone

Exercise is necessary for good health, but you don't want to overdo it and waste your fitness potential. Knowing your estimated maximum heart rate based on your age group can help you maintain an ideal workout pace. That's because your workout would be over in a few exhausted minutes at your maximum heart rate.

While exercise is the most important tool for reducing your daily heart rate, there are other ways you can take control of your health and reduce your heart rate.

Beyond Exercise: Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Resting Heart Rate

While exercise is the most important tool for reducing your daily heart rate, there are other ways you can take control of your health and reduce your heart rate. These include:

  • Cut back on, or quit drinking coffee and alcohol
  • Do not smoke
  • Eat healthy foods to maintain a healthy weight
  • Practice mindful relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation
Sources:

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

  1. iStock
  2. iStock
  3. iStock
  4. iStock
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  6. iStock
  7. MedicineNet / Medscape https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2172054-overview#a2
  8. MedicineNet
  9. MedicineNet / https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/17402-pulse--heart-rate
  10. iStock

REFERENCES:

  • AHA: "All About Heart Rate (Pulse)."
  • AHA: "Target Heart Rate Chart." Mar. 9, 2021.
  • Lewine, Howard MD. "Increase in resting heart rate is a signal worth watching."
  • Mayo Clinic: "Elevated Heart Rate Most Likely Caused by Medical Condition."
  • CDC: "Physical Activity: Adults." Oct. 7, 2020.
  • Health Direct. "Resting Heart Rate."
  • Harvard Medical School: "What your heart rate is telling you." Aug. 30, 2020.
  • Mayo Clinic: "Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Relieve Stress." Apr. 22, 2020.
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