What Is A Normal Resting Heart Rate?

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Your resting heart rate can reveal a lot about you. Ask any runner, and they’ll tell you that they keep tabs on their resting heart rate to figure out things like how well they're responding to training and whether they may be coming down with a cold. 

Knowing how your ticker ticks can provide you with valuable information, but don’t feel pressured to compare yourself to others. Heart rate— resting or otherwise—varies from person to person. 

Checking heart rate on a smart watch

Getty Images / Nastasic

What Is a Resting Heart Rate?

Your resting heart rate (or RHR) is the rate at which your heart beats at rest. More specifically, it’s the number of times your heart beats each minute. RHR is measured when you’re relaxed and not engaged in physical activity.

What Is a Normal Resting Heart Rate?

The normal RHR range for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. 

However, what’s normal for you might be abnormal for someone else. If you regularly pay attention to your RHR, that can help you notice when something isn’t quite right. For example, if you usually record your RHR around 65 bpm and notice it increasing steadily, that can be a signal that something is up with your health.

A mild change in your RHR is not a definitive sign that something is terribly wrong—you might just be getting a cold—but it can be a helpful red flag for those paying attention. An unusually high RHR might prompt your doctor to check your blood pressure or order blood tests for you, for instance. 

For some people, a low RHR can mean that they are in peak physical condition. Athletes and people with a high degree of fitness, for example, have been known to have low RHRs. But so do dead people— this is illustrative of how RHR alone can’t tell us everything about a person's health status.

Conversely, having a high RHR might increase your risk of a heart attack. Research suggests that an RHR at the top of the “normal” range can increase your risk of early death. The same study also found that a high RHR was linked to low fitness and overall poor health markers, like high blood pressure and high triglycerides.

Can You Change Your Resting Heart Rate?

Healthy habits, like exercise, can help you lower your resting heart rate. Basically, working your heart can help it pump more efficiently, reducing the number of beats required to pump the same amount of blood.

What Can Affect Heart Rate?

A few things can affect your RHR, including:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety 
  • Medications
  • Hormonal changes
  • Time of day 
  • Caffeine

Exercise will typically increase your heart rate, so it’s best to wait a while before taking a reading post-workout.

Does RHR Change Over Time?

Yes, RHR can change as a person ages. In newborns, for instance, a normal RHR is between 70 to 190 beats per minute.

How to Find Your Resting Heart Rate

You can measure your RHR manually by gently resting two fingers on the inside of your wrist at the base of your thumb (radial pulse), or on the side of your neck beside your trachea (carotid pulse). If you feel your pulse, you’re ready to start your timer. Set a timer for 60 seconds and count how many beats you feel in that time span.

You’ll get a more accurate result if you take a few measurements and take the average. 

Other ways to measure your RHR are to use a blood pressure monitor, which you can set to measure your pulse rate. Many fitness devices also measure heart rate. Wrist-based heart rate monitors aren’t as accurate as chest-based ones, but you can wear them 24/7 and get a fairly reliable average.

If you have access to constant readings, you’ll also be well-equipped to notice when something’s outside of your norm. Many experts recommend taking your RHR first thing in the morning. 

A Word From Verywell

Your RHR can give you a general idea of your health, but it’s not particularly useful information on its own. Paired with other health metrics, like blood pressure, RHR can be valuable. Paying attention to your normal RHR can also help you identify when you might be too stressed or overworking yourself.

Remember, RHR is different for everyone. If you’re worried about a high or low RHR, talk to your doctor. Additionally, you won’t know if your readings are abnormal unless you’re regularly measuring your RHR. 

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Article 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. American Heart Association. All about heart rate (pulse). Updated July 31, 2015.

  2. Jensen MT, Suadicani P, Hein HO, Gyntelberg F. Elevated resting heart rate, physical fitness and all-cause mortality: a 16-year follow-up in the Copenhagen Male Study. Heart. 2013 Jun;99(12):882-7. doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2012-303375

  3. Solan M. Your resting heart rate can reflect your current—and future—health. Harvard Health Publishing. Updated August 30, 2020. 

  4. Harvard Health Publishing. What your heart rate is telling you. Updated August 30, 2020. 

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