🤓😃😵 This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006.
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🤓😃😵 Experts agree that your resting heart rate is an important indicator of your fitness level and overall cardiovascular health.XResearch source Finding your resting heart rate is simple, and something you can do on your own at home. Studies show that once you've tracked your heart rate, you can use the information to help you learn more about your heart and your health. There are several steps you can take to effectively use this information in your daily life.
Part 1Part 1 of 2:Finding Your Resting Heart Rate Download Article
- 1Choose the right time. The formula for your resting heart rate is simple: it is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it is at rest. The key to calculating this rate is to make sure that you are actually at rest when you find your heart rate. Try calculating your heart rate first thing in the morning.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
- One of the best times to find your resting heart rate is before you even get out of bed in the morning. Right after a good night's sleep is when your heart rate will be the most rested.
- If you forget to measure your heart rate first thing in the morning, you can do it later in the day. Just make sure that you have been sitting calmly for several minutes and not exerting yourself physically.
- 2Gather your supplies. Fortunately, you don't need much in order to track your resting heart rate. Just make sure to have a watch with a second hand to help you keep track of the time. Alternatively, you can use a digital stopwatch.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School's Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
- Find a quiet place to sit where you will not be distracted.
- If you find yourself unable to concentrate, ask a friend to keep track of time for you.
- 3Check your pulse. Basically, in order to find your resting heart rate, you need to check your pulse. Take your third finger and your index finger and place them gently but firmly on the side of your neck, to the side of your windpipe. You will find your pulse slightly to the left or right from the center of your throat, an inch or so under your chin.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service (UK)Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
- Count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply that number by 4 and you have your resting heart rate.
- You can also take your pulse on your wrist. Take two fingers and place them on your radial artery. This is located on the thumb side of your wrist, between the bone and the tendon.
- 4Know your numbers. Your heart rate conveys important information about your fitness levels and your overall cardiovascular health. In general, children over the age of ten and adults should have a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute. Remember, these numbers are general, so check with your doctor to see if your heart rate indicates something specific about your health.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
- Athletes generally have a lower resting heart rate. If you are a competitive athlete, your resting heart rate may be only 40-60 beats per minute.
- 5Consider important factors. When you are calculating your resting heart rate, it is important to remember that there are many factors that can impact the reading. For example, the temperature of the room, your emotions, and certain medications can all affect your heart rate. Try taking it more than once and averaging the results.XResearch source
- If your heart rate is consistently more than 100 beats per minute, consult your doctor to see if it is indicative of an underlying problem.
- You should also consult your doctor if your pulse is lower than 60 beats per minute and you are not an athlete.
Part 2Part 2 of 2:Using This Information Download Article
- 1Find your training heart rate. You can use the same method to find your ideal training heart rate. This is the rate of exertion that you want to work towards when you are exercising to make sure that you are getting cardiovascular benefits. Take your pulse 10 minutes into your workout to find your training heart rate. Each age group has a specific target heart rate that is ideal.XResearch source
- People between 20-30 years of age have a target heart rate of 100-170 beats per minute. 30-35 year olds should aim for 95-162 beats per minute.
- People who are between 40-50 years of age will have target heart rates of 88-145 beats per minute. If you are 60 or above, your target heart rate will generally be between 75-128 beats per minute.
- Remember that these numbers are general. Ask your doctor if he has a specific recommendation for you.
- 2Get in a routine. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy and to consistently hit your target heart rate. Make it a habit to get at least 30 minutes of physical exercise most days of the week. Choose an activity that you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it.XTrustworthy SourceHelpGuideNonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources.Go to source
- The best exercise programs combine cardio activity and strength training. For example, you could combine swimming with a routine that uses light weights.
- Try a new sport. Sports are a great way to combine exercise with socialization. Join the work softball team or take tennis lessons.
- 3Practice good heart health. There are several ways to keep your heart healthy. One of the best things you can do is to make sure to eat a balanced diet. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. You should also look for healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado.XResearch source
- Whole grains have been shown to help keep your heart healthy.
- Avoid smoking.