A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats per minute.
To measure your heart rate, simply check your pulse. Place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.
When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by four to calculate your beats per minute.
Keep in mind that many factors can influence heart rate, including:
- Fitness and activity levels
- Being a smoker
- Having cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or diabetes
- Air temperature
- Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
- Body size
Although there's a wide range of normal, an unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or if you're not a trained athlete and your resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.
Oct. 08, 2022
- Kenney WL, et al. Cardiorespiratory responses to acute exercise. In: Physiology of Sport and Exercise. 6th ed. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2015.
- Know your target heart rates for exercise, losing weight and health. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates. Accessed July 31, 2018.
- Sauer WH. Normal sinus rhythm and sinus arrhythmia. https://www.uptodate.com/content/search. Accessed July 31, 2018.
- Fatisson J, et al. Influence diagram of physiological and environmental factors affecting heart rate variability: An extended literature overview. Heart International. 2016;11:e32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5056628. Accessed July 31, 2018.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 1, 2018.
- Riebe D, et al., eds. Client fitness assessments. In: ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2018.