Pulse Rate Chart

A normal pulse rate indicates good health. You can go through this write-up to take a look at the normal pulse rate chart along with information on the normal pulse rate and the ideal heart rate during exercise.
What is a Pulse Rate
Defined as the rate at which the heart beats in one minute, the pulse rate or the heartbeat is an effective indicator of one's health. It is basically the number of times your heart beats in a minute. As the heart pumps blood into the body, the blood vessels close to the wrist, upper arm and neck start pulsating and throbbing. The pulse rate is often noted in situations where it is important to ascertain if the heart is pumping enough blood especially after an injury or in an emergency. The pulse rate also indicates the cause behind symptoms like dizziness, fainting and rapid heartbeat. Moreover, it is essentially a check of your overall fitness and health during and after an exercise regime.
How to Check Pulse Rate
The pulse rate can roughly be measured if you place your fingertip at a place where an artery that is close to one's skin can be compressed against a bone. The common areas in which you can check the pulse rate include:
  • Wrists
  • Neck (either side of the windpipe)
  • Top of the feet
  • Behind the knee
  • Temple area

To check the pulse rate in the wrist, you turn up your wrists so that the palms are facing up. Now place your middle finger and index finger below the thumb and exert a slight pressure against the bone. Count the pulse beat for thirty seconds. Double the result to get the number of beats per minute. You can also use electronic pulse meters to find the pulse in the chest, wrist and finger. Checking your pulse when resting, during or after a workout can certainly give information about the overall fitness.
Average Resting Pulse Rate
The number of times one's heart beats while one's body is in a state of complete rest is medically referred to as the resting heart or pulse rate. Lower resting heart rates are indicators of a healthier heart. To calculate the resting heart rate or the pulse, you have to sit quietly for 10 minutes. Now place the tip of your index, middle or ring finger on the radial artery that is present at the wrist. One can also place the finger at brachial artery at the inner side of the elbow, posterior tibial artery near the ankle joint or the popliteal artery behind the knee to measure the pulse rate.

Age Pulse Rate
Babies under the age of 1 100 - 160
Children aged 1 to 10 70 - 120
Children aged 11 to 17 60 - 100
Adults 60 - 100
Well conditioned athletes 40 - 60
When To Check
The best time to assess the resting pulse rate is in the morning after you wake up. Once you are awake do not start checking immediately. Lie quietly for around fifteen minutes and then check the pulse rate using the same method as described above. To find out the average resting pulse rate, you will need to record the resting pulse rate for three days. Add the three values and then divide it by three to get the average resting pulse rate
Factors That Affect Resting Pulse Rate
There are many factors that may cause variations in this pulse rate. These include:
Temperature changes: When temperatures rise, the heart pumps more blood leading to rise in pulse rate

Fitness Levels: Well-conditioned athletes have lower pulse rate because their heart is ideally better at pumping blood due to less fatty deposits in the body.

Body position: Based on whether you are sitting, standing or lying your pulse rate will differ

Emotional Level: Stress and tension can increase the pulse rate significantly

Body Size and weight: If you are overweight then the body requires additional energy to pump blood. This can lead to a higher resting pulse rate

Medications: Certain beta blockers or thyroid medications can affect the pulse rate.

Activities: During different activities, your pulse rate will differ. For example a rise in the pulse rate can be seen after meals, during sex and after exercising.
Target Heart Rate (THR)
The target heart rate or the target pulse rate refers to the rate at which blood must be pumped by the heart during a workout so that the body gets the maximum benefit from the workout. When we exercise the heart pumps more blood and hence the pulse rate increases. So how do we discern when it is safe to exercise and not overwork ourselves?
Calculating Target Heart Rate
Usually the target heart rate should be about 65-85% of the maximum heart rate. The maximum heart rate is calculates as 220 minus your age. So if your age is 55 then the maximum heart rate is 165 bpm (beats per minute). Once you have calculated the maximum heart rate multiply it with 0.85 to get the upper limit of target heart rate and 0.65 to get the lower limit of target heart rate.
Upper Limit of Target Heart Rate: 165 x 0.85 = 140.25
Lower Limit of Target Heart: 165 x 0.65 = 107.25
Age Fat Burning Zone
(50 -65%)
Target Heart rate Zone
(65 - 85%)
High Intensity Zone
(90%)
20 100 - 130 130 - 170 190
25 97.5 - 126.75 126.75 - 165.75 185.25
30 95 - 123.5 123.5 - 161.5 180.5
35 92.5 - 120.25 120.25 - 157.25 175.75
40 90 - 117 117 - 153 171
45 87.5 - 113.7 113.7 - 148.75 166.25
50 85 - 110.5 110.5 - 144.5 161.5
55 82.5 - 107.25 107.25 - 140.25 156.75
60 80 - 104 104 - 136 152
65 77.5 - 85.25 100.75 - 131.75 147.25
70 75 - 97.5 97.5 - 127.5 142.5
75 72.5 - 94.25 94.25 - 123.25 137.75
80 70 - 91 91 - 119 133
85 67.5 - 87.5 87.5 - 114.75 128.25
Source: HPMC Occupational Medical Services
Fat Burning Zone: In the table above the fat burning zone (50 - 65% of Maximum HR) indicates low intensity workouts wherein the fat is metabolized for energy. This is usually for people who are new to exercising or suffer from some heart diseases. In this zone you burn less calories, and there is no significant improvement in the cardiovascular health.
Target Heart Rate Zone: As you continue exercising your body gets conditioned to the moderate intense workouts. In this zone you tend to lose the excess calories and become fitter. Other than losing weight you are also more fitter and energetic.
High Intensity Zone: The high intensity workouts are meant for extremely fit individuals like athletes. Indulging in extremely strenuous physical activities or intensive workouts where the heart rate is beyond 85% of the maximum heart rate can increase both cardiovascular and orthopedic risk. Since strenuous exercises increase the pulse rate, it is advisable to check with your health care provider, before starting an exercise program. You can also use a heartbeat calculator to measure the increase in heart rates. Check the chart given below, to find whether you need to increase or decrease the intensity of your workouts.
Recovery Pulse Rate
The recovery pulse rate measures how fast the heartbeat returns to normal after exercising. This indicates your fitness levels. To check the recovery pulse rate
  1. Check your pulse rate immediately after stopping
  2. Your pulse rate after 2 minutes

Subtract the pulse rate immediately after stopping with the pulse rate after two minutes to get the recovery heart rate. If the difference is significantly big then your heart is healthy and you are fit.
Irregular Pulse Rate
Low Pulse Rate (Bradycardia): Low pulse rate which is less than sixty in adults is usually seen in athletes and sports professionals. However in certain cases the low pulse rate also known as Bradycardia can signal an underlying health problem. Coronary artery disease, infections in the heart valves including myocarditis and endocarditis, electrolyte imbalances, low thyroid levels and certain medications like beta blockers can lower the pulse rate. This leads to dizziness, fainting, difficulty in breathing, chest pain and problems in concentrating.
Fast Pulse Rate (Tachycardia): Fast or irregular pulse rate is when the heart beats at more than 100 beats per minute. Coronary artery diseases, heart failure, heart muscle problems, lung diseases, electrolyte imbalances, emotional stress and high blood pressure are some of the common causes for fast pulse rate. It can lead to lightheadedness, fainting, weakness and fluttering in the chest. A high pulse rate can also indicate heart attacks, chronic lung diseases, congenital heart defects or certain heart conditions.
The pulse rate chart is a great way of discerning your fitness levels and general health condition. However, if you have irregular pulse rate along with associated symptoms then it is best to consult a doctor immediately.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and does not attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.