The number of times, a heart beats or contracts per minute (BPM) is known as heart rate (HR). As you know, heart health depends upon various factors like age, gender, activity level, overall health etc., the ideal rate for men, women, children, infants is different. While checking the overall fitness, or while confirming the diagnosis of any health problem, doctors first check the resting heart rate (RHR) of an individual. By referring to the recommended rate for the age and gender, it is easy to detect whether there are any abnormal signs of heart pumping.

The maximal number of times that one's heart can contract per minute (without any damage) is called maximum heart rate (Max HR). The resting heart rate (RHR) is calculated when the person is resting. The working heart rate (WHR) is calculated during exercise, or immediately after performing rigorous exercise. The average of heart rates measured at different times during a workout is called average HR. The recovery HR, which is measured two minutes after the exercise, can be used to evaluate your fitness level. For example, you exercise at 155 WHR, and when you stop exercising, your HR decreases to 95, then 95 is called your recovery HR. The physician-supervised stress test helps you calculate the various types of HR. It is usually measured with the help of pulse rate.

How to Calculate Maximum Heart Rate

The following formulas allow you to predict your maximum heart rate (MHR). These can be applied to adults only. There can be an acceptable error of + - 10/15 beats per minute as there can be difference in inherited characteristics and exercise training.

Women: 226 - your age = 'age-adjusted' Max HR BPM

Men: 220 - your age = 'age-adjusted' Max HR BPM

By knowing MHR, you can exercise at the most effective level.

Ideal RHR

The RHR calculator helps calculate RHR. When you wake up in the morning, rest for 10 minutes and then calculate your radial pulse (pulse measured at your wrist), or carotid pulse (pulse measured at your neck). You can measure the pulse rate for 10 seconds, and multiply it by 6, to get the RHR. The unit of HR is Beats Per Minute (BPM).

If you know the normal RHR for your age and gender, you can compare yours with it. The normal RHR for adults can be anywhere between 60 to 70 BPM. Lance Armstrong, the racing cyclist, regularly records a stunning HR of 30 to 35 BPM! The heart can pump the blood to all parts of the body more efficiently as the fitness level rises. An efficient heart beats less number of times per minute, especially when you are resting. The higher level of RHR denotes how harder the heart has to work. The condition wherein RHR of more than 100 beats per minute is noticed, is called tachycardia.

Ideal Average Heart Rate

The average HR in adults ranges from 65 to 80 BPM. While exercising, your average HR would be around 50 to 60% of your MHR. If you are 30 years old, your MHR will be around 190, and your average HR would be around 80, depending upon the other health factors. When the average heart rate of an individual is less than 75, the condition is known as bradycardia.

Normal Heart Rate

Fetus: The normal HR for fetus is 110 to 180 BPM, though it may fluctuate during different times of the day, and may increase to about 190 BPM. It is noticed that during the first trimester of pregnancy, fetus has a low heart rate.

Children: The normal HR for children, of the age 1 - 10 years is 70 - 120 BPM. It is a fact that the HR gradually decreases with an increase in age. The normal HR for children below 5 years is 95 to 140 BPM, while those above 5 years is 80 - 120 BPM.

Men: The normal HR for an adult man is about 70 BPM, but the HR between 60 - 100 BPM is considered healthy. You might be surprised to know that the normal HR for well-trained athletes is as low as 40 - 60 BPM, depending upon the fitness level. Normally, men have slower heart rate than women.

Women: The normal HR for women is around 70 - 80 BPM while an increased HR of about 85 - 90 BPM can be noticed in case of a pregnant woman. RHR within the range of 60 to 90 BPM is said to be normal for women.

Exercise: During exercise, the HR should be 55 - 85 % of the MHR.

Abnormal heart rate is a symptom of an underlying heart disease. It is obvious that maintaining it within the recommended normal range is crucial for healthy living.