What should your pulse rate be?

What should your pulse rate be?  A pulse (heart rate) of 60 – 100 beats per minute is considered normal for a healthy adult at rest.  A higher heart rate during intense exercise is to be expected and your target range for a safe heart rate increase can be calculated.  The formulas for that calculation can be based on age for the most basic formulas, to age along with a few additional factors for more detailed and individual specific formulas.


Measuring Heart Rate (Pulse Rate)

pulse rate

Many smartwatches have a built in feature that can measure a person’s heart rate.  If you do not have one on you it is still possible to get a heart rate the old fashioned way. Placing two fingers over a prominent artery  (ie, the carotid artery in the neck or radial artery in the wrist).  Count the number of beats for 15 seconds, and then multiply that number by 4 to get your beats per minute measurement.


Slow Resting Heart Rate

While not always a cause for concern, any resting heart rate outside of the normal range is generally worth discussing with a medical professional to ensure that it is still adequate and healthy for that individual.  A low resting heart rate (below 60 beats per minute) is generally considered bradycardia.

Individuals that are very fit can sometimes have a lower resting heart rate that is still perfectly healthy as long as they are not experiencing symptoms associated with bradycardia.  This can just be a sign that the heart is strong, efficient, and functioning particularly well in a fit, healthy individual.  However, an unexplained low heart rate can also be a sign of several medical conditions, especially when accompanied by feeling unwell, such as being light headed, short of breath, or dizzy.


High Resting Heart Rate

A resting heart rate that is consistently over 100 beats per minute is valuable to discuss with your doctor. Some investigation may be warranted and possibly even lifestyle changes and/or treatment/medications required.

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