What is a normal heart rate/pulse?
Medically reviewed by C. Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 9, 2019.
A normal heart rate range is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Your heart rate is a measure of how many times your heart beats per minute. It is also called your pulse.
Heart rates vary from one person to another, depending on their age, body size, heart condition, medication use, and presence of other medical conditions. Air temperature, movement, physical activity, posture, and stress will also affect your heart rate.
Because the heart is a muscle, improving your fitness level will usually make your heart work more efficiently. It is not uncommon for athletes to have resting heart rates of 40 to 60 beats per minute.
Taking your heart rate
There are several places on your body where you can measure your heart rate, such as your:
- Wrist: Between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery (located on the thumb side of your wrist)
- Neck: Slightly to the side of the mid-line of your neck, about halfway down you can feel your carotid artery
- Elbow: Approximately an inch up the inside arm from the crook of the elbow
- Foot: On the top of the foot, halfway up and towards the middle, just past the bones and tendons that lead to the big toe.
Once you have located these pulse points, use a timer or a watch to count the number of pulses you can feel in 15 seconds. Then multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.
See your doctor if your resting heart rate is regularly more than 100 beats per minute, or less than 40 beats per minute, for no obvious reason.
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