Resting heart rate
The number of heart beats per minute, measured when the individual is in a state of rest, but awake, is termed as the resting heart rate, and is denoted by resting HR, RHR or HRRest.

It is generally measured early in the morning before indulging in daily activities which increase the heart rate.

Such heart rate at rest indicates cardiac efficiency of an individual, and ranges between 60 to 100 bpm (beats per minute) for adults.

However, values closer to the lower limit of this range qualify as a good resting heart rate. In fact, well trained athletes show a resting heart rate between 40 to 60 bpm.

Given below is a quick overview of the normal ranges for different age groups, followed by detailed charts giving resting heart rates by age along with the fitness level they signify.

A Quick Overview

The pulse rate chart given below indicates normal range of resting heart rates for newborns, infants, children, adults as well as athletes.

Age Resting Heart Rate
(beats per minute)
0-3 months 100-150
3-6 months 90-120
6-12 months 80-120
1-10 years 70-130
Above 10 years 60-100
Well-trained athletes 40-60

Resting Heart Rate Charts by Age

Presented here are charts that elucidate the ideal resting heart rates for women and men, at seven different levels of fitness. Find out where you 'fit' in.

Age Fitness Quotient for Women
Athlete Excellent Good Above Average Average Below Average Poor
18-25 54-60 61-65 66-69 70-73 74-78 79-84 85+
26-35 54-59 60-64 65-68 69-72 73-76 77-82 83+
36-45 54-59 60-64 65-69 70-73 74-78 79-84 85+
46-55 54-60 61-65 66-69 70-73 74-77 78-83 84+
56-65 54-59 60-64 65-68 69-73 74-77 78-83 84+
65+ 54-59 60-64 65-68 69-72 73-76 77-84 84+

Age Fitness Quotient for Men
Athlete Excellent Good Above Average Average Below Average Poor
18-25 49-55 56-61 62-65 66-69 70-73 74-81 82+
26-35 49-54 55-61 62-65 66-70 71-74 75-81 82+
36-45 50-56 57-62 63-66 67-70 71-75 76-82 83+
46-55 50-57 58-63 64-67 68-71 72-76 77-83 84+
56-65 51-56 57-61 62-67 68-71 72-75 76-81 82+
65+ 50-55 56-61 62-65 66-69 70-73 74-79 80+

How to Measure Resting Heart Rate

It is recommended to measure the resting heart rate in the morning, just after waking up. Either the radial pulse, felt on the wrist, or the carotid pulse of the neck is measured. Given below are a few simple steps as well as tips to ensure the correct measurement of resting heart rate.

Radial Pulse
» Place the tips of your index and middle finger on the opposite wrist, slightly below the base of your thumb.
» Once you feel the beats, count the number of beats for 10 seconds.
» Multiply this value by six to get the number of beats per minute.
Carotid Pulse
» Place the tips of your index and middle finger on any side of the neck, just below the angle of the jaw.
» Press lightly to feel the pulse, and record the number of beats in 10 seconds.
» Multiply the value by six to obtain the beats per minute.

Points to Remember
Once awake, refrain from suddenly attempting to measure the pulse. Sudden activities will increase the heart rate thus giving an erroneous heart rate at rest.

If measuring at any other time during the day, ensure that you lie down peacefully for at least for 15 minutes before measuring the heart rate.

Body position influences the heart rate. Hence measure the pulse rate in a supine position, rather than sitting or standing position.

Measure the pulse for four or five consecutive days, and determine the average of these values for higher accuracy.

Abnormal Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate beyond the range of 60-100 beats per minute is considered to be an indication of cardiac arrhythmia if accompanied with dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, short breaths and fainting. It may be the result of heart damage due to aging, electrolyte imbalance, alcohol, high blood pressure and cardiac disorders.

A pulse rate below 60 bpm is termed as bradycardia, and needs medical attention only if the above mentioned symptoms are also experienced. On the contrary, a resting pulse rate above 100 bpm is termed as tachycardia. It is characterized by palpitations along with the above mentioned symptoms, and often demands immediate medical help.

Resting heart rate reveals the pumping efficiency of the heart. Lower the resting pulse, higher is the cardiac efficiency and fitness level of an individual.