Normal Heart Rate By Age (2023)

One of the vital signs a nurse checks when you visit the doctor is your heart rate, along with temperature, blood pressure and respiratory rate. Your heart rate, which is measured by your pulse, is an important indicator of your overall health and fitness level. It can signal certain medical conditions or a need to adjust lifestyle habits that elevate your heart rate above the normal range determined by your age.

The normal resting heart rate (when not exercising) for people age 15 and up is 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm).

However, your heart rate may vary slightly from the norm due to several factors, including regular exercise, a medical condition, stress and use of some over-the-counter medications.

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What Is a Resting Heart Rate?

Resting heart rate refers to when your heart pumps the lowest amount of blood your body needs when you’re not exercising. Your resting heart rate is measured by your pulse when you’re calm, relaxed, sitting or lying down and not ill.

Why Does Your Resting Heart Rate Matter?

A heart rate that’s too high or low—especially a rate that’s higher or lower than your usual resting heart rate—could be a sign of medical issues or other health conditions.

A high resting heart rate could signal an abnormal hormone level, an overactive thyroid, anemia or another potential health issue, such as a heart rhythm abnormality, says Hailu Tilahun, M.D., a cardiologist at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Seattle, Washington. Meanwhile, a resting heart rate that’s too low could cause dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue or even fainting, which is dangerous and should not be ignored.

“Different levels of heart rate might reflect certain medical conditions,” says Dr. Tilahun. “However, it doesn’t always necessarily mean there’s something going on. And that’s why heart rate is important—because it can be a hint to at least consider exploring those possibilities.”

Normal Heart Rate By Age Chart

Normal heart rate varies, according to your age. Below is the normal heart rate by age, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Age Normal Resting Heart Rate
Newborns ages 0 to 1 month70 to 190 bpm
Infants 1 to 11 months old80 to 160 bpm
Children 1 to 2 years old80 to 130 bpm
Children 3 to 4 years old80 to 120 bpm
Children 5 to 6 years old75 to 115 bpm
Children 7 to 9 years old70 to 110 bpm
Children 10 years and older and adults (including seniors)60 to 100 bpm
Athletes in top condition40 to 60 bpm

It’s also important to know the normal “maximum” heart rate during vigorous activity and the “target” heart rate for your age.

To find your normal maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.

Meanwhile, your target heart rate should be about 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate during moderate-intensity activity like walking. During more intense activity, such as exercising, running or working out with weights, your target heart rate should be about 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate.

As a general guide, below are the average maximum heart rates and target heart rate zones by age for adults, according to the American Heart Association.

Age Target Heart Rate Zone (50% to 85%) Average Maximum Heart Rate (100%)
20 years100 to 170 bpm200 bpm
30 years95 to 162 bpm190 bpm
35 years93 to 157 bpm185 bpm
40 years90 to 153 bpm180 bpm
45 years88 to 149 bpm175 bpm
50 years85 to 145 bpm170 bpm
55 years83 to 140 bpm165 bpm
60 years80 to 136 bpm160 bpm
65 years78 to 132 bpm155 bpm
70 years75 to 128 bpm150 bpm

How to Check Your Heart Rate

You can check your heart rate easily by using smartwatches and other fitness-tracking wearables, but it’s also simple to check your heart rate manually.

To find your heart rate, place your index and middle fingers gently against the underside of your wrist on the side just below the base of your thumb until you can feel the pulse. You can also measure heart rate by placing two fingers on one of the carotid arteries located on each side of your neck.

Other places where you can check your heart rate include:

  • Groin
  • Temple
  • Back of the knees
  • Top or inside of the foot

After you locate your pulse, count the number of beats you feel for 15 seconds, then multiply that number by four. Alternatively, count the beats for 30 seconds, then multiply by two. If checking your resting heart rate, count the beats when you haven’t been exercising or physically active for at least 10 minutes.

There’s no best time of day to check your resting heart rate. “You can do it in the morning or in the evening, but you really can check the heart rate at any time,” says Dr. Tilahun. “After activity, the heart rate might still be high. Also, you don’t want to check your heart rate after resting or meditating for a very long time since that’s also not going to be truly reflective.”

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What If I Can’t Locate My Pulse?

If you can’t locate your pulse in your wrist, try finding your pulse on your carotid artery or the other parts of your body where the pulse may be stronger. Be careful checking on your neck, though.

“When checking the pulse on the carotid, we have to be a little bit cautious because if it’s pressed too hard, it can cause a reflex that leads to lightheadedness and dizziness or may even cause fainting,” says Dr. Tilahun.

Causes of a High Resting Heart Rate

Research indicates that a higher resting heart rate is linked with higher blood pressure and body weight, along with lower physical fitness[1]Target Heart Rates Chart. American Heart Association. Accessed 4/7/2022. . In addition to medical conditions, such as anemia, high thyroid or hormone levels and blood clots, certain lifestyle factors can cause an elevated resting heart rate, says Dr. Tilahun.

Additional possible causes of a high heart rate include:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Infection (including bacterial, viral and rarely fungal infections)
  • Dehydration
  • Poor or disrupted sleep
  • Caffeine, alcohol or nicotine intake or withdrawal
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Use of over-the-counter decongestants
  • Poor physical condition

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How To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate

When your resting heart rate is in the normal heart rate range for your age, your heart muscle doesn’t have to work as hard to pump enough blood to keep a steady beat.

If someone notices an increase in their heart rate within a certain period—after not being physically active for a year or two, for example—but other things haven’t changed much with their health, the elevated heart rate could indicate they may need to be more active to lower the heart rate, says Dr. Tilahun.

If your resting heart rate is higher than the normal adult heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute, regular activity is key to bringing the heart rate down. “That activity could be exercise, but it doesn’t have to be dedicated exercise. It could be walking, gardening, mowing the lawn or other regular activities,” says Tilahun.

“When you’re doing the activity, the heart rate is going to be higher, and people sometimes get worried. But that’s not an issue—it’s what’s supposed to happen. Over time, regular activity will lower the heart rate for most people,” he adds.

When to See a Doctor About Your Heart Rate

If a higher heart rate is a result of being under stress or consuming a lot of alcohol or caffeine, that’s not typically a cause for alarm. However, these situations still warrant a discussion with your clinician, as they can discuss with you how to best address any necessary lifestyle changes.

Meanwhile, adults without an acute condition that might cause an elevated heart rate may also want to contact their doctor if their resting heart rate remains above 100 beats per minute for a few days, says Dr. Tilahun.

“If the heart rate is persistently elevated for more than a few days and there is absence of a clear thing that can explain it, that should be a time to talk to your doctor,” he says.

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