You can measure your pulse rate by slightly pressing your fingers on the inner side of your wrist. Pulse felt by your fingers indicates the frequency at which your heart beats. Pulse rate is expressed in Beats Per Minute (bpm). The number of times your heart beats in a minute when you are resting is called resting pulse rate. It is also known as normal pulse rate or normal / resting heart rate (RHR). Pulse can also be felt at the neck, ankle joint, inside of the elbow, at the groin or at the back of the knee. It varies according to the age, sex, physical activity, weight, fitness level, overall health, etc. Pulse rate chart by age and gender is usually displayed in a clinic. Resting pulse rate for men is about 68-75 bpm; while for women, it is between 72-80 bpm.
Resting Pulse Rate Chart for Women
|Description||Pulse Rate (BPM)|
|During exercise||90-120 (depending upon age)|
Overweight women may have higher pulse rate than normal-weight women. Normal pulse rate of a young woman may be slightly higher than that of an old woman. Thus, pulse rate varies according to the age and weight.
Resting Pulse Rate Chart by Age
|Age Group||Pulse Rate (BPM)|
|Babies to age 1||100-160|
|Children aged 1 to 10||60-140|
|Children aged 10+ and adults||60-100|
As described in the table, newborn babies have the fastest pulse rate. Toddler's pulse rate can be between 90 to 140 bpm. Preschool and kindergarten children may exhibit a normal resting pulse rate of about 80 to 110 beats per minute; while middle school children may have pulse rate of about 75 to 100 beats per minute. Teenagers have almost the same pulse rate as the adults. Women usually have a slightly higher pulse rate than men. Athletes often have a significantly lower pulse rate because their heart is so conditioned that with minimum efforts (minimum beats per minute) it can pump the required quantity of blood to all parts of the body.
High pulse rate is described as tachycardia while low pulse rate is referred to as bradycardia. Both indicate health complications. Abnormal pulse rate indicates a problem in blood circulation. It suggests that you are going to suffer from health problems due to blocked/partially blocked blood vessels or damaged heart muscle. The pulse rate of an individual keeps on changing throughout the day. It varies according to the physical activity. While sleeping, it can be as low as 40-50 bpm.
You must have noticed that during exercise, your heart starts beating faster, as the body's demand for blood and oxygen increases. Physical exertion can also cause an increase in pulse rate. When your heart has to work harder to meet the demand for blood and oxygen, it beats faster. A heart with good pumping capacity is said to be healthy. It beats slowly because it can pump the required quantity of blood with few beats (contractions) only.
Target Heart Rate during Exercise
It is true that with low intensity workout, you won't be able to enjoy the benefits of exercise. But, strenuous exercises may raise your pulse rate beyond limit. Intensive exercises, performed with very high heart rate do not give you any extra benefit. In fact, such exercises can damage the heart muscle. So, you are supposed to calculate the target heart rate during exercise and work within the range.
You may use the age adjusted formula to calculate the maximum heart rate (MHR) during exercise. Here is the formula:
- MHR for women = 226 - age
- MHR for men = 220 - age
Childhood obesity, general obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure are some of the biggest concerns today. Those with health problems should consult their physician and physical trainer to know the correct target pulse rate zone during exercise. They should not rely upon pulse rate chart by age. Anxiety, illnesses, use of medications can bring about changes in pulse rate. Aging influences the heart rate of a person. Healthy individuals may refer to the above charts and try to maintain the pulse rate within the normal range.