Normal Resting Heart Rates by Age

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Resting heart rate varies by age. In adults, a resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm) is considered normal. Babies and young children have higher resting heart rates than older kids, teens, and adults.

Resting heart rate, measured in beats per minute, is your heart rate while at rest. It serves as an indicator of fitness. In general, a lower resting heart rate indicates a higher degree of fitness.

This article reviews how to measure resting heart rate and what it means for you.

Woman checking her pulse

The Good Brigade / Getty Images

Measuring Resting Heart Rate

Though there are a number of products, like smartwatches and heart rate monitors, that can measure resting heart rate, all you need is a watch with a second hand.

To measure your heart rate, place a finger over the radial artery or carotid artery. The radial artery is found at the base of the wrist on the side of the thumb. The carotid artery is found on the neck, to the side of the windpipe, just under the angle of the jaw.

Once you have located the artery, place your index and middle fingers over it and count the number of pulsations in one minute. A quicker method is to count the number of beats over 15 seconds and multiply this by 4 to determine beats per minute.

Keys to Getting an Accurate Result

Resting heart rate is determined with a pulse measurement when you are relaxed and at rest. Do not take resting heart rate after:

  • Active exercise
  • Walking around the house
  • Smoking a cigarette
  • When feeling stressed

These can all increase heart rate and give inaccurate results for a true resting heart rate.

Normal Resting Heart Rate by Age

From birth to adulthood, resting heart rate varies. In babies and children, normal resting heart rate is higher, but normal ranges decrease with age until adulthood.

One classification for pediatric heart rate ranges based on a wide-scale study is listed below.

Pediatric Heart Rate Ranges (10th–90th percentile)
 Age Normal Resting Heart Rate Range (bpm) 
0–3 months 123–164
3–6 months 120–159
6–9 months 114–152
9–12 months 109–145
12–18 months 103–140
8–24 months 98–135
2–3 years 92–128
3–4 years 86–123
4–6 years  81–117
6–8 years  74–111
8–12 years  67–103
12–15 years 62–96
15–18 years  58–92

For people ages 18 years and older, a normal resting heart rate is 60–100 beats per minute.

What Does It Mean?

Lower Than Normal

A lower than normal resting heart rate is called bradycardia, though it is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, people with high physical fitness, such as long-distance runners, can have a heart rate as low as the 40s when at rest without any problem.

However, for most people, a low heart rate could indicate a problem, especially if any symptoms are present, such as:

  • Light-headedness or fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion

Some common causes of low heart rates include the following:

Normal Range

A resting heart rate between 60 and 100 bpm is considered normal, but the lower end of this range is better. One study conducted over approximately 20 years demonstrated that for every 10 bpm increase in heart rate, risk of death increased by up to 20%.

Higher Than Normal

A heart rate higher than 100 bpm is called tachycardia. Aside from recent exercise, many things can increase resting heart rate, including:

Serious Conditions Causing Tachycardia

Some life-threatening conditions can also cause a high resting heart rate, including:

If you have concerning symptoms with high heart rate, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, or fainting, seek medical attention right away.

How to Improve Your Resting Heart Rate

You can lower your resting heart rate by improving your physical fitness and making some lifestyle changes.

Regular cardio exercise, like running, swimming, or biking, trains the heart to be more efficient over time. With each heartbeat, the "athletic heart" maintains its output of blood to the body at a lower heart rate.

In addition to exercise, other actions that may improve your resting heart rate include:


Resting heart rate is an indicator of fitness, with lower values associated with improved health outcomes. For most adults, the normal resting heart rate is 60–100 bpm. It can be lower in athletes or people who are regularly physically active.

People can take steps to improve their resting heart rate by incorporating regular exercise, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, and managing stress.

A Word From Verywell

Tracking your resting heart rate can be helpful as you age and become more likely to experience illness. It can be useful to healthcare providers treating a variety of conditions. If your resting heart rate is outside the normal range, consider some lifestyle changes and habits to improve your heart health and reach out to a healthcare provider if you are concerned.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is considered a dangerous heart rate?

    A dangerous heart rate is one in which the heart is pumping so slowly or so quickly (and thus inefficiently) that it is not providing appropriate blood flow to the body. A low or high heart rate with symptoms of light-headedness, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, or loss of consciousness may be considered dangerous.

    The actual heart rate value at which this happens varies by person. Generally, resting heart rates with such symptoms that are considered dangerous are as low as 40 bpm or less or as high as 130 bpm or higher.

  • What are the signs of a heart attack?

    The most common symptoms of a heart attack are chest discomfort, which may radiate to the neck, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include nausea, fatigue, and light-headedness. Heart rate can vary during a heart attack. Some heart attacks can cause heart block and a very low heart rate, while others can cause dangerous arrhythmias like ventricular tachycardia and very high heart rate.

  • What factors affect resting heart rate?

    Resting heart rate can indicate level of fitness, but it varies based on time of day, activity level, psychological state, sleep patterns, caffeine and alcohol intake, certain medications, and hormone levels (like thyroid hormone and cortisol).

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health. Want to check your heart rate? Here's how.

  2. UpToDate. Pediatric respiratory rate and heart rate lower limit, normal range, and upper limit by age.

  3. Fleming S, Thompson M, Stevens R, et al. Normal ranges of heart rate and respiratory rate in children from birth to 18 years of age: a systematic review of observational studies. Lancet. 2011;377(9770):1011-8. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62226-X

  4. American Heart Association. Bradycardia.

  5. Chen XJ, Barywani SB, Hansson PO, et al. Impact of changes in heart rate with age on all-cause death and cardiovascular events in 50-year-old men from the general populationOpen Heart. 2019;6(1):e000856. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2018-000856

  6. University of Utah Health. Why is my heart beating so fast?.

  7. American Heart Association. Tachycardia: fast heart rate.

By Angela Ryan Lee, MD
Angela Ryan Lee, MD, is board-certified in cardiovascular diseases and internal medicine. She is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and holds board certifications from the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the National Board of Echocardiography. She completed undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Biology, medical school at Jefferson Medical College, and internal medicine residency and cardiovascular diseases fellowship at the George Washington University Hospital. Her professional interests include preventive cardiology, medical journalism, and health policy.