How to Calculate Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate (RHR) is an indicator of cardiovascular health and fitness. You can easily calculate it yourself. Continue reading this WellnessKeen article to know more on how to calculate your resting heart rate, and what are the factors that influence it.
WellnessKeen Staff
Last Updated: Mar 22, 2018
Heart rate can be defined as the figure that indicates how many times your heart beats in a minute. Similarly, resting heart rate (RHR) is defined as the heart rate when your body is at rest. Beats per minute (bpm) is the unit that is used to measure it. RHR helps evaluate the health of the lungs and the heart of a person. It helps determine the strength and efficiency of his cardiovascular system.
A digital blood pressure monitor displays systolic/diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate. For most people, RHR and pulse rate are the same. A healthy person is supposed to have a lower heart rate. This is because an efficient heart can pump more blood per beat, so it would beat less number of times in a minute. A weak heart would be able to pump similar quantity of blood with more number of contractions.
The factors that influence resting heart rate are:
  • Age
  • Anxiety
  • Gender
  • Medication
  • Activity Level
  • Body size
  • Body position
  • Air temperature
How to Calculate RHR
The time when you measure your RHR is very important. The best time to measure it is early morning, before you get out of your bed. Follow the steps given below:
  • Once you wake up, rest your body for at least 10-15 minutes.
  • You can either measure your radial pulse or carotid pulse.
  • Radial pulse is the one measured at the wrist, while carotid pulse is the one measured at the neck.
  • Measure the pulse rate for 10 seconds, and multiply the result by 6.
  • The obtained result is nothing but your RHR.

You should never rely on a single reading of RHR, always calculate your average resting heart rate by calculating RHR at least 3-4 times a week. The normal resting heart rate for an adult is somewhere between 60 -100 bpm.
What does Your RHR Indicate
Once you find out your RHR, it is time to analyze the result. Men usually have a lower RHR as compared to women. Physical trainers promote that keeping a track of the RHR during a physical fitness program can help in better analysis of health progress, because when you are under physical training, you are improving the efficiency of your heart to pump more blood per beat, and thus your RHR should also improve.
Ideal Resting Heart Rate for Men
Age RHR for Athletes Excellent Good Above Average Average Below Average Poor
18-25 49-55 56-61 62-65 66-69 70-73 74-81 82+
26-35 49-54 55-61 62-65 66-70 71-74 75-81 82+
36-45 50-56 57-62 63-66 67-70 71-75 76-82 83+
46-55 50-57 58-63 64-67 68-71 72-76 77-83 84+
56-65 51-56 57-61 62-67 68-71 72-75 76-81 82+
65+ 50-55 56-61 62-65 66-69 70-73 74-79 80+
Ideal Resting Heart Rate for Women
Age RHR for Athletes Excellent Good Above Average Average Below Average Poor
18-25 54-60 61-65 66-69 70-73 74-78 79-84 85+
26-35 54-59 60-64 65-68 69-72 73-76 77-82 83+
36-45 54-59 60-64 65-69 70-73 74-78 79-84 85+
46-55 54-60 61-65 66-69 70-73 74-77 78-83 84+
56-65 54-59 60-64 65-68 69-73 74-77 78-83 84+
65+ 54-59 60-64 65-68 69-72 73-76 77-84 84+

A higher RHR has been directly linked to increased risk of getting a heart attack. So, it is quite clear that one should always keep an eye on his/her heart rate to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy body.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.