Normal Pulse Rate

Pulse indicates the rate at which your heart is beating; so normal pulse rate implies that your heart is functioning properly, which is a sign of good health.
Woman checking pulse on wrist closeup
In the field of medicine, 'pulse' is defined as the rhythmic expansion and contraction of the arteries corresponding to each beat of heart. Simply put, it is the rate at which the human heart beats. The pulse rate of an individual can facilitate a quick evaluation of his health, and therefore, it is widely used as a diagnostic tool by medical practitioners. The rate at which your heart beats when you are resting is considered your normal pulse rate, and is measured in beats per minute (BPM).
Normal Pulse Rate for Adults and Children
A pulse rate of 60-100 BPM is usually considered normal, but then, there exist a few exceptions to this rule. While a well-conditioned athlete can have a heart rate of 40 BPM, in a newborn the same can be as high as 180-190 BPM. Low pulse rate within the acceptable range is considered ideal, as it is an indicator of proper heart functioning and cardiovascular fitness. A fall below the normal range, however, can be a reason to worry. When the pulse falls below the normal range, the condition is referred to as bradycardia, and when it exceeds the normal range, it is referred to as tachycardia.

The heart rate of an individual is influenced by several underlying factors; most prominent ones being gender, age, weight, emotions, medication, and lastly, the activity levels. The activities that the person indulges in, can alter the person's heart rate in a short span of time. It can drop to 40 BPM when the person is sleeping, and spike to 150-200 BPM when he is exercising or indulging in some intense physical activity.
Men: 68 - 75 BPM
Women: 72 - 80 BPM
Other than the gender, age and weight also play an important role in determining an individual's pulse. A young woman is more likely to have a higher resting heart rate compared to an old lady. Similarly, an overweight person is more likely to have a higher heart rate compared to an average person.
Newborns: 70 - 190 BPM
Infants: 80 - 160 BPM
1 - 2 Years: 80 - 130 BPM
3 - 4 Years: 80 - 120 BPM
5 - 6 Years: 75 - 115 BPM
7 - 9 Years: 70 - 110 BPM
10 Years and above: 60 - 100 BPM
High heart rate in children can be attributed to the fact that they require more oxygen as they are in developmental state. As they grow, the same starts decreasing, and by the time they are 10 years old, they join the adults with an average heart rate of around 68-80 BPM.
How to Check Your Pulse?
You can check your pulse by placing the tip of your index, middle, or ring finger on one of the sites where the artery is compressed against the bone, and pressing lightly. You will feel the blood pulsating beneath the finger. If you have any trouble locating your pulse, you can just move your fingertip around the area till you locate it. There are certain places in the body wherein it is easier to find the pulse; the wrist and neck are the best examples of the same.
Checking Pulse on Wrist
Checking Pulse on Wrist
Checking Pulse in Neck
Checking Pulse in Neck
» Wrist (Radial artery)
» Neck (Carotid artery)
» Inside of the elbow (Brachial artery)
» Behind the knee (Popliteal artery)
» Ankle joint (Posterior tibial artery)
A convenient way to determine your pulse rate (heart beats per minute) is to count the beats for 10 seconds, and multiply the number by 6. If you get 12 beats in 10 seconds, you will have to multiply 12 by 6. In this case, your heart rate will be 72 BPM. (If you don't want to go through all this, an easier way out is to buy an electronic pulse meter. The device has to be simply strapped around the wrist, and your pulse rate will be displayed on the digital screen.)

A heart rate in excess of 95 BPM, when the individual is at rest, is considered unusual. This can happen due to several reasons, including fever and anxiety. It can be an indication of some problem in the person's health, and thus should not be taken lightly; especially if it is accompanied by symptoms, like vomiting and/or frequent headaches.
While checking the pulse rate of an individual can help in determining certain problems in his health, by no means should it be considered the lone criteria of diagnosis. One has to understand that it's a basic method, which can only come in handy during preliminary diagnosis.