All About Healthy and Normal Heart Rates

In response to the overwhelming popularity of our previous post on heart rates I have decided to take a look at a few more aspects of healthy and normal heart rates.

How to measure your heart rate

Measure your heart rate like thisBefore we look at all the different types of heart rates we should take a look at the best way to measure it.

The most reliable way is to tilt your head back slightly and place your index and middle fingers over the carotid artery on your neck. This is found just below the outer jaw line. You should never use your thumb to measure your heart rate as it has a pulse of its own which can cause you to double count.

What is a heart rate?

A heart rate is an important measurement and is calculated as the number of contractions or beats the heart makes in a minute.

What does resting heart rate mean?

A resting heart rate is simply your heart rate measured while you are at rest. The best time to measure is in the morning before breakfast so the rate isn’t influenced by walking, eating or any exercise.

What is a NORMAL resting heart rate

Heart rates differ for many people depending on:

  • age
  • sex
  • body weight
  • health (diabetes, illness, medication, etc)
  • fitness

However, a normal heart rate is said to be about 70 beats per minute for males and about 75 beats per minute for females.

What is a HEALTHY resting heart rate

An interesting thing about heart rates is that they are significantly lower in people who do a lot of physical exercise. Professional athletes, for example, have been known to have resting heart rates of as low as 35 beats per minute. As the resting heart rate is lower in fit people there is the belief that the resting heart rate is a good way to measure fitness. While this has some truth to it a better measurement is the recovery rate.

What is the recovery rate?

The recovery heart rate is a measurement of how well your heart recovers after exercise. It is measured one minute after exercise and is the rate at which your heart beats drop each minute. People who are very fit will see that their heart rate drops very quckly after exercise. It recovers well. This is a much better measurement of one’s fitness.

What is a NORMAL recovery heart rate?

It is said that your heart should slow down by about 30 beats in the first minute. If your heart does not slow down by this much then you are pretty out of shape. People who are very fit will see their heart slow down by 50-60 beats in the first minute.

Do not use the web to determine your heart’s health
I get so many emails and comments on this blog alone from people asking me if they have a healthy heart. I don’t know! The internet is not a suitable means for disgnosing ANY health problems. As most heart related problems are very serious if one has any doubt whatsoever about their heart’s health they should book a visit to the doctor today. Only they can tell you for sure.

About Katie

Katie has transformed her body from a flabby 186lbs, to a fit & toned 124 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Katie joined the Lean Curves team in 2007 and has posted hundreds of articles on fitness, fat loss and healthy eating.


  1. FitClubScott says:

    Here is a tip for measuring you heart rate:

    Always measure it first thing in the morning, ideally, before you get out of bed. That will give you the most accurate resting heart rate reading. If you wait until later in the day it will go up because of your daily activities.

    Also your heart rate is really affected by caffeine consumption. I don’t know about you but I’ve got to have my coffee in the morning and it tends to increase my heart rate by almost 10 beats/minute for several hours after drinking it.

  2. RT says:

    Hey Scott. I mentioned the morning thing in the post! You had me worried, I thought I forgot it.

    That’s amazing about the coffee. I knew it affected the heart rate but 10 beats per minute is quite a lot. Thanks for that.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Patricia Lemon says:

    I found this article really useful way to measure my fitness, I can use this test of recovery to keep an eye on my fitness as well as heart rate monitor to use as fitness targets.


  4. kim lecnar says:

    hi…i’m here at this great website to get fit…i am 51 and 40 lbs. overweight…i have read alot ! about so many diets…low carbs seems right to me, so, here i go…does anyone know, really, how i should get started…i know i should eat 1120 calories a day if not exercising…i plan on getting back on the treadmill again and working up to 30 minutes a day…any tips ? thanks a million, kim

    • Wendy says:

      It is not the amount of calories you should be entirely concerned with. You must have carbs, protein, and fat in your diet to achieve long term fat loss. Weight training is also key to fat loss. Cardio should really only be 20-25 minute interval training.

  5. sonia says:

    I am 40 years old… been monitoring my blood pressure (doctors orders) for the next two weeks… today my readings are 113s/74d and pulse rate at 120!!! should i be concerned? Although my s/d’s have been slowly going down to healthier numbers, my pulse rate seems to be going up.

  6. Gary Walter says:

    I will be 59 in January. I am 6’1″ tall. In June of this year (2008), I weighed in at a whopping 280 pounds. I wore size 44 pants, 2XL shirts and 50 coat. My hemoglobin A1C was 8.2 and I was taking 2000mg per day Metformin, my total cholesterol was above 200, triglycerides were above 650, HDL was in the 20′s and LDL was very high. I was taking Tricor for cholesterol. As to BP, my systolic was around 140, diastolic around 90 and resting pulse was in the 60′s (with meds). Needless to say, I was in pitiful shape.

    Today, November 10, 2008, I weigh 222 pounds, a loss of 58 pounds. My goal is to reach 194 by March 2009. I now wear size 36, large shirt and 44 coat. My Hemoglobin A1C has dropped to 5.9 (as of October 6) and it’s still going down. I only take 500mg per day of Metformin. My total cholesterol is now 122 (normal 100-199). Triglycerides are at 111 (normal 0-149), HDL is at 47 (normal 40 to 59), LDL is 52 (normal 0-99). Meds have been cut in half and I expect to be off of them totally by January. My Systolic is consistently between 115 and 130. My diastolic runs between 65 and 75. My resting pulse in the morning is seldom above 50. This morning it was 41. I no longer take any BP meds.

    How did I do it you ask? Short and simple……… lot’s of determination. I joined Weight Watchers and I never cheat. It’s not a diet, it’s a permanent lifestyle change. I never count calories. I’m not following a carb or protein diet of any sort. I write down EVERYTHING I eat, keep up with portion sizes, increased my fiber intake, don’t eat beef, and I make much healthier choices. I’m eating very good foods. I also joined a gym and I work out at least four days a week. On the other three days, I walk. I started slow and have worked up to walking 5 to 6 miles easily on a single walk. Now, I am working out and walking with my heart rate between 130 and 135. When I stop, my pulse drops below 100 in about one minute.

    Most of you can do it if you really want to. My wife and I are on the same program and it’s working for both of us. I’ll be glad to share more info with anyone that would like to know more.

  7. clairelopez says:

    hi! i am 35 years and recently joined the gym. when i go on the threadmill my heart is 150 and when i increase the speed of the threadmill, my heartbeat also goes up!! I remember seing it at 170. should i be worried?

  8. Robert Sage says:

    Thanks gary walter for your story. I’m 45 and about the same shape you were in when you started. You have really inspired me.

    Thank you

    B. sage

  9. dennis lynam says:

    i have 4 stents in my right aorta what is my target heart rate when i am working out

  10. GC says:

    Hello, i have a heart rate of about 83 and im a 16 year old girl. I was just wondering if that was an ok heart rate for an athletic teenager.

  11. Louise says:

    For years I was a marathon runner, I ran 10 marathons and two ultra over 50 mile run/hikes. My heart rate whether I am involved in heavy duty exercise, or just walking and working out at the health club, my resting heart rate hovers between 70 and 72 bpm. Should I be concerned?

  12. Donna says:

    I am a 27 year old female, 5 ft 8 in & 172 lbs. My resting HR is usually between 80-95. I have only started monitoring my vitals while working out in the past month so I am not certain if my resting HR has always been this high, but if so no doctor has ever mentioned it to me. During my workouts, I reach a HR of 175-180 within 5 minutes of cardio activity, which normally shuts down thread mills, etc that have HR monitors attached. I am concerned only because I have a history of heart attacks at an early age in my family, although I have never been diagnosed with a problem myself. What could reaching such a high HR so quickly be an indication of? Should I be concerned, or could this be normal for some people?

  13. Darragh says:

    Great website and great articles.

    Despite having a clear statement on the website, it is no harm to remind readers “Do not use the web to determine your heart’s health” !!

    if you have 4 stents, consult your doctor – BEFORE you start an exercise regime !
    If you have a resting HR of 80-95 and max out after 5 minutes, consult you doctor, BEFORE you start an exercise regime !

    The internet should NOT replace some self-preservation minded common-sense.

  14. Michelle says:

    Interesting reading!
    Gary, your story is fab. WELL DONE YOU!
    I am a 45 year old female. Weight 9.5lbs, Height 5.6
    I have been slim all my life.
    I am well within my BMI, but don’t let this fool you.
    I have high cholesterol in the past due to eating habits. This came down to normal levels through eating healthier.
    Don’t be fooled into thinking you are fit and healthy because you are slim! Everyone needs to have some exercise!
    I have just stared a daily routine to try and become fit and healthy, with the hope that I will live a longer happy life.

  15. mohammad ashraf vazir says:

    i am last three month under go in high bp , tab given docter selomax
    5/50 & storefib. but at that time doctor told me to be in lbp .& may heart pluse is 58 to 62 . and bp 100/50 & iam 58 year old no any sugar, daibity am fit & daily 1 hours morningwak may wt 58 kg.
    sir iam fit or abnormal. what is problem iam go to hbp to lbp
    & heart pluse rate is 80 privious at time is 58 to 62
    pl guide me

    your faithfully
    Mohammad ashraf

  16. dennis says:

    hai , why there is a decrease in heart rate in normal elderly people and increased heart rate in infants..

    pls let me know

  17. elise says:

    i am 14, i am 170 lbs and i am trying to lose weight. I have recently started riding a stationary bike for around 20 to 25 minutes at a time. Yesterday i took my HR at the peak of my workout and it was 140 bpm. Then when i finished, i took it after a few seconds and it was 100 bpm. Should i be concerned? how do i figure out what my heart rate should be??

  18. DOROTHY says:

    My blood pressure is normal around 115-120 and 75 – 85 when I am getting up in the morning and heart beat 75. When I start moving around it jumps up to 140 – 155 to 95 – 110. This is without coffee. Should I be concerned? I feel fine – but don’t know if I should see a doctor.

  19. Meg says:

    Hi! I am a 37-year-old woman, and I have been researching a lot of health information on the internet, as well as with doctors and a nutritionist. On May 26th of this year, I was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism, so I got very involved with recovering my health. My diet is extraordinarily good now and I have become an even better cook. I cook every day, and vegetables are my main food group. I also eat a lot of fruit, and make some great fruit juice blends. I have very few grains, like rice, no dairy, salt, soy, anything from the sea, red dye, and have cut back on some minerals and such, like zinc, while upping others, like l-carnitine, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin d, b vitamins and magnesium. I am also still researching heart rates, t4 and t3 levels and other foods I can try–at least a little. One of the reasons that I left this comment is because I am very concerned about some of the people who have also left comments on here (although I have no clue as to how old this string is) because they are describing some of the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism, like rapid heartbeat. Just to be on the safe side, I believe they should get a FULL blood test for this, diabetes and other things. I feel a lot better, and even though I am not all better yet, I can walk more, sleep better and feel a lot better, overall. Thank you for your time.

  20. Jessica says:

    CONGRATS to Gary Walter.. that is an inspiring story! Keep it up!

  21. Tim Brenner says:

    Gary Walter. Keep up the good work.


  22. lia ashford says:

    i am 13 years old and my heart rate is about 17 beats in 10 secs is that ok

  23. Julia Shanty says:

    O.k. so of course this is not a completely accurate method, but for a rough idea of what your target heart rate is you can follow this equation

    B- resting heart rate= x
    x times .65= bottom of target heart rate
    x times .85 = top of target heart rate

    15 year old girl with resting heart rate of 70 bpm

    220-15= 205
    205-70= 135
    135 times .65 = 87.7
    135 times .85 = 114.75

    her target heart rate is 88 – 115 beats per minute

  24. jon says:

    im 17 and my heart rate is only 50 bpm. but i hardly ever exercise. its no mistake i checked like 5 times. should i be concerned?

  25. jon says:

    im 17 and my heart rate is only 50 bpm. but i hardly ever exercise. its no mistake i checked like 5 times. should i be concerned?

  26. steve says:

    As a person who was/is concerned about high blood pressure, I found, through reading up on “wellness vs medication” that a one of the “key” components to weight loss was “eliminating” sugar from my diet. I lost 25 pounds in 3 months. My food intake (consumption) was the same, if not increased. The tie in is chemical balancing, see Dr. James Blaylock, wellness periodicals. Vegatables and salad on a daily basis, no SUGAR, combined with a well instituted vitamin and supplement program. Exercise is not the sole remedy, and I’m an athletic person. A moderate weight lifting program is recommended. This program in 3 months has controlled my BP from 144/88 to 118/78. Sustained now for 5 weeks. Otherwise I’d be on this dangerous side effect medication for the rest of my life with likely kidney failure down the road. I’m 55 and not interested in that prospect. 1 in 5 Americans have high BP.
    Try eliminating sugar, it’s a killer, and the weight will fly off. Of course, if the reality is a lack of willpower then you really have no complaints coming anyway. Good luck

  27. Feliz says:

    Hi ..I really enjoyed reading your website..Just wanted to share with you..last year I weight 73.5kg & I am 1.64m in height..

    I found a revelations ..that I want to share to those who wants to lose weight & still can enjoyed your favourite food..

    Firstly I will always eat fruits or salads before my main meal..& always have a habit to drink hot water whether the weather is hot or cold..I cut down on my cold drinks..

    I started in mid Nov 2009 weight 73.5kg & by end of January 2010 my weight now is 66.5kg. I lost of 7kg..within 2.5 months.

    I still enjoy my favourite food moderately..I still have 6.6kg weight lost to go as my ideal weight for my height is 59.9kg …

    today I decided to swim 20 laps that takes me 29mins with BPM 134..

    Thank you for the info that you gave in your website to calculate the heart beat rates..I plan to swim 4 times a week ,20 laps each session & by then I should be able to lose the 6.6kg..& continue my fiber intake first before my main meals..

    Will email you once I achieve my goals..once again thank you..

    Have a blessed day

  28. peter brodey says:

    medications changed,mds took out diltiaz 300mg , was 37beats per minuite now 120,cnanged to norvasc how can iget this down to normal rate)70 to75what medication best to do this?

  29. Peter brodey says:

    major problem caused by atrial flutter, arrythmia&BLOOd clot on heart so iam taking coumadin β blocker,metopolol to get heart rate down&dissolve clot. is that reasonable? all prescribed in hospital in canada whats your view?

  30. David says:

    Want to look better figure try this.
    Check out your daily cal intake with expert or go on Web,and calculate
    everyday how much you are taking in,for middle age female,may be about 1300 cal/day.Drink a lots of water or green tea no sugar.
    Do 3 times or more exercise per week.Sleep over 8 hours preferred
    early bedtime,I go to bed late around midnite.Finally,take enough vitamin supplements on good labels and a lots of antioxidents
    like vege & fruits.
    I am 60 yrs old.heart rate at rest 60,max HR when in gym,up to about 165,5ft5in tall, weigh 138 lbs,Blood pressure average 115/75
    All my friends are just wondering how young looking I am,they guess
    I looked like a 45 yrs old man ! Repeat,take enough Vitamin supplments !

  31. amy MacLennan says:

    I am 51 years old, 5 ft. 4 in tall about 120 lbs. I exercise regularly and enjoy jogging on the treadmill at a moderate rate. I can go for 20-30 minutes at a rate of between 5-5.5. I warm up for 3-5 minutes and cool down. My heart rate goes down fairly quickly once I start the cool down. My question is this: When I monitor my heart rate during the exercise, it is sometimes above 200. I know this is too high–should I be concerned? I work out in a gym and I get the same reading regardless which machine I am using, so it is not a malfunction of the pulse reader.

  32. amy MacLennan says:

    I am 51 years old, 5 ft. 4 in tall about 120 lbs. I exercise regularly and enjoy jogging on the treadmill at a moderate rate. I can go for 20-30 minutes at a rate of between 5-5.5. I warm up for 3-5 minutes and cool down. My heart rate goes down fairly quickly once I start the cool down. My question is this: When I monitor my heart rate during the exercise, it is sometimes above 200. I know this is too high–should I be concerned? I work out in a gym and I get the same reading regardless which machine I am using, so it is not a malfunction of the pulse reader.

  33. bob says:

    i an 16 and i weight 65kg 5ft 7 and i want to lose some of the fat in my body i have no idea how to loose it can someone please help me.

  34. dal says:

    i am 19 years old female and i weight 125kg the docto said i have to loose half of this or i will die i need help please help me out.

  35. Kamran Sethi says:

    Great. I agree that minimum and maximum heart rate has nothing to show fitness levels. I don not weight train or anything but my resting heart rate is 30 and while running, it is 220. Thats a difference of nearly 190 beats.

  36. Bren says:

    Ok now I am really concerned my resting heart rate is 106. I am 40 years old. I think it is time to stop smoking and loss some weight.

  37. TR says:

    I am a 62 y.o. african-american female; 130 lbs.; my resting h.r. averages between 80-95 every morning when I arise! Looking at the numbers of the comments above, it seems this is a little too high. Am I right?

  38. sherry says:

    I am 41 with low bp and a heartrate of 105-125 its very concerning I lost 45lbs and are in good shape why is heart rate so high its really scary am I gonna have a heart attack or cardiac arrest. What should I do

  39. Jody says:

    Morbidly obese for 25 years, I recently lost 93 pounds in 8 months following a reasonable diet and exercising 1 hour a day – 6 days a week. All this time, I have just been kind of guessing where my target heart rate is so I am hoping you can shed light on this for me.

    At this point, I would really like to know what heart rate I should be striving to reach, what is too much, and if there is a difference between a weight loss and a cardio target heart rate. I have been shopping for a treadmill for bad weather days and saw some have both listed on their displays.

    I would like to lose a little more, not because I am focusing on the weight number, I am actually pretty happy with the way I look in a size 10 pair of jeans, but I want to get out of the overweight BMI category. I do not have that much more to lose to make it to make it to the normal range, and quite honestly after working as hard as I have, being overweight in ANY category is unacceptable.

    Here are my stats:

    Female, age 53
    Height: 5′ 5″
    Weight: 165
    Resting Heart rate: 72
    Blood Pressure: 114 over 78

    No health issues, no daily medications, and the Doc says the results of my blood tests are excellent with everything falling in normal ranges including my cholesterol and triglycerides.

    I sincerely thank you for your time.


  40. Adam says:

    My age is 20, my heart rate(rest) has been from 95-105 from many days now. Anything dangerous with that? Should i go for some doctor?

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