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Normal Resting Heart Rate by Age

Resting heart rate can simply be defined as the least amount of blood our hearts pump to meet the body’s needs while at rest. It is also referred to as the number of times our hearts beat per minute when we are in a relaxed position. In most cases, it is usually determined by our pulse while we are calmly seated or lying down and not sick.

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Have you ever wondered why most healthcare providers, particularly nurses, like to take your vital signs before anything else? Or perhaps you’ve once asked them about what they measure and the usefulness of these parameters. We would like to inform you that the medical data collected are values that reflect the state of your overall well-being. Even among these signs is an important value known as heart rate, which often serves as an indicator of your cardiovascular health.

Furthermore, this vital sign element—heart rate—is frequently used to indicate specific medical conditions. Apart from that, it also informs us about the need to change some lifestyle habits that consistently raise our heart rate above normal. For this reason, this cardiac value is always measured at rest and determined by an individual's pulse; hence, the name “resting heart rate by age.”

Stay tuned, as this article presents the various values of normal resting heart rate by age, as well as how to check and maintain them.

What Is a Resting Heart Rate?

Resting heart rate can simply be defined as the least amount of blood our hearts pump to meet the body’s needs while at rest. It is also referred to as the number of times our hearts beat per minute when we are in a relaxed position. In most cases, it is usually determined by our pulse while we are calmly seated or lying down and not sick.

Oftentimes, this cardiac marker, also called pulse rate, is usually regarded as a medical requirement that must be monitored regularly throughout a person's life. This is because every individual's resting heart rate varies from time to time, and as we age, it gradually declines. Therefore, it is advisable to always monitor our pulse rate at regular intervals, as doing this can help us know our present state of health.

What Are the Various Forms of Heart Rate?

Before we proceed to heart rate measurement procedures, let's take a brief look at the various forms in which a resting heart rate may occur.

Normal Resting Heart Rate

Every individual's resting heart rate (RHR) often differs based on age, degree of activity, and other variables. However, there are a few normal heart rate parameters a typical healthy individual must have.

According to the National Institute of Health, a healthy adult's resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Young children’s heart rates are expected to fall within the following range:

  • Newborn baby (birth-1 month): 70-200 bpm

  • Infants (1 month-1 year): 80-160 bpm

  • Youngsters (1-3 years): 80-130 bpm

  • Early childhood (3-5 years): 80-120 bpm

  • Late childhood (5-12 years): 75-118 bpm

  • Adolescents (13-18 years): 60-100 bpm

Target and Maximum Heart Rate

It's very crucial to understand your age-appropriate target heart rate as well as your average maximum heart rate during strenuous activities. For instance, when you engage in moderately intense physical exercise such as slow dancing, the optimal heart rate is your target heart rate. But when you engage in vigorous activities to the highest level, the ideal pulsation achieved is known as your maximum heart rate.

Ideally, whenever we are participating in mildly strenuous events like walking, our target heart rate should be between 50-70% of our maximum heart rate. However, when we engage in more intense practices like boxing, weightlifting, or running, our target heart rate should not exceed 95% of our maximum. If you want to calculate these two variables, you can use the following method:

  • Maximum heart rate (HRmax) = (220 - present age)

  • The lowest limit of the target heart rate (THR lower) = (maximum × 60) / 100

  • The highest limit of target heart rate (THR upper) = (maximum × 80) / 100

To help you with your calculations, here are some target and maximum resting heart rates by age range from the American Heart Association.

  1. 20 years = (100-170 bpm THR and 200 bpm HRmax)

  2. 30 years = (95-162 bpm THR and 190 bpm HRmax)

  3. 40 years = (90-153 bpm THR and 180 bpm HRmax)

  4. 50 years = (85-145 bpm THR and 170 bpm HRmax)

  5. 60 years = (80-136 bpm THR and 160 bpm HRmax)

  6. 70 years = (75-128 bpm THR and 150 bpm HRmax)

Slow Heart Rate (Bradycardia)

Sometimes, an individual's pulse may be below the normal resting heart rate by age; in this case, we have what is called bradycardia. This bradycardia condition is an abnormal heart rate that usually occurs when the number of heartbeats is less than 60 times per minute. It is also known as a kind of heart rate that produces slow pulses at regular intervals, e.g., 55 bpm.

Furthermore, this abnormal RHR condition, also called slow heart rate, may indicate underlying medical conditions, which are accompanied by dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, etc. In some cases, especially while sleeping or awake, bradycardia can be normal because, during this period, the body is totally at rest.

Fast Heart Rate (Tachycardia)

If you measure your heart rate and it consistently reads above 100 bpm, be informed that you are having a fast heart rate. This kind of resting heart rate is commonly seen among elderly people, and it's often advisable to see a doctor once it’s noticed. Additionally, this rapid heart rate (tachycardia) may also come along with some signs such as weariness, dyspnea, an erratic pulse, chest pain, etc.

Most signs experienced following tachycardia may indicate the presence of chronic conditions with the heart or lungs, and sometimes it may be dehydration or physical misfit. At times, while doing exercises, you may also experience a special type of fast heart rate known as sinus tachycardia.

How to Check Your Resting Heart Rate?

You can measure your resting heart rate by age in two different ways. Either you take the manual method or with the aid of a device. Let us look at the various steps to take if we want to measure our heart rate using any of these approaches.

Manual Hand Check Method

When at rest, you can use a manual method to check your heart rate and that of another person. All you need are your fingers and a timer (stopwatch or clock) to complete the steps below.

  • Step 1: Place the tip of your index finger and middle finger in the region where you can locate your pulse.

  • Step 2: Gently press these two fingers at the side of your neck, slightly below your jaw. Or apply pressure beneath your wrist joint beside the cord-like structure that runs into your palm.

  • Step 3: After you start to feel your pulse, you can count the beats for 10 seconds. Note that to accurately determine your duration, use a stopwatch or other time-tracking device.

  • Step 4: Because you are counting your beat for 10 seconds, you will multiply your heartbeat number by 6. But if you use 15 or 20 seconds, you multiply by 4 and 3, respectively.

  • Step 5: The estimated value you get is your resting heart rate by age.

Sometimes, locating one's pulse might be very difficult, especially in the neck region. If you can't locate your pulse in any of the aforementioned areas, check your temple, groin, or the front of your pinna. Additionally, you can repeat this anytime for three consecutive days and take their average value. Just ensure you aren't taking your heart rate while stressed, sleeping, or just awake.

Digital Device Check Method

Technology has made a lot of this easier. You can also get a more accurate heart rate by using a device that automatically measures heart rate, such as a smartphone, a Fitbit, or an iWatch. Aside from that, you can get a stethoscope, which is a common medical device used in hospitals. However, to obtain this device, you can contact OMRON Healthcare for a portable, durable, and quality option.

Factors Influencing the Resting Heart Rate

There are a lot of factors that can influence your normal resting heart rate by age. Some of these components are as follows:

  1. Age: Research  shows that the older an individual gets, the lower his/her RHR becomes. Therefore, the older you grow, the lower your pulse rate.

  2. Temperature: Having a high temperature is another factor that can slightly increase your heart rate.

  3. Anxiety: If you are feeling too nervous or are always deep in thought, there is a high tendency for your heart to beat very fast.

  4. Overweight: Being obese or overweight is another factor that can also elevate your resting heart rate. Because having this excess weight often makes the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body.

  5. Posture: When you stand up abruptly after sitting for a long time, your heart rate temporarily increases.

  6. Smoking: Smoking cigarettes, tobacco, or any hard drug is another major factor that typically raises the heart rate. So, if you smoke, you should quit as soon as possible.

  7. Medication: Practicing self-medication or using certain drugs like beta-blockers, antidepressants, etc., can reduce your RHR value  below normal.

7 Practical Tips on How to Manage Your Heart Rate

Many times, having abnormal heart rates (whether slow or fast) is often caused by activities and actions over which we have control. Therefore, if you notice a change in your normal resting heart rate as you age, you can try the lifestyle changes listed below.

  • Always stay hydrated.

  • Stay fit and reduce excess weight.

  • Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake.

  • Maintain good interpersonal relationships.

  • Get plenty of sleep every night (7-9 hours).

  • Carry out weekly strength and balance training.

  • Always check your heart rate at regular intervals.

  • Eat nutritious foods high in protein and vegetables.

  • If any drugs are prescribed, stick to the instructions given.

  • Engage in moderate aerobic activities such as swimming, cycling, or jogging for at least 2½ hours.

Take Away

Knowing your resting heart rate by age is very important because it varies from time to time and can be influenced by various factors. To prevent possible complications, you can measure your heart rate manually with your hand or automatically with a device regularly. However, if you notice any strange readings, you should take deep consideration of what you were doing for the RHR examination.

Sometimes, receiving a different heart rate number is likely to have a rational explanation. But if you are worried about it, you can get in touch with a medical provider like OMRON Healthcare. Reach out to us today to maintain your normal resting heart rate and keep your overall health intact!


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How to Check Your Heart Rate | Mass General Brigham. (2022, December 13).
DiGiacinto, J. (2024, January 22). What is a Dangerous Heart Rate? Healthline.

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