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Heart Disease Health Center

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Pulse Measurement

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The chart below shows the normal range of a resting heart rate (pulse rate after resting 10 minutes) in beats per minute, according to age. Many things can cause changes in your normal heart rate, including your age, activity level, and the time of day.

Resting heart rate
Age or fitness level Beats per minute (bpm)

Babies to age 1:


Children ages 1 to 10:


Children ages 11 to 17:




Well-conditioned athletes:


Your pulse usually has a strong steady or regular rhythm. Your blood vessel should feel soft. An occasional pause or extra beat is normal. Normally, your heart rate will speed up a little when you breathe deeply. You can check this normal change in your pulse rate by changing your breathing pattern while taking your pulse.

Many conditions can change your pulse rate. Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results that may be related to your symptoms and past health.

Fast pulse

A fast heart rate may be caused by:

Slow pulse

A slow resting heart rate may be caused by:

Weak pulse

A weak pulse may be caused by:

Heart rate during exercise

Many people use a target heart rate to guide how hard they exercise. Use this Interactive Tool: What Is Your Target Heart Rate? This tool calculates your target heart rate using your maximum heart rate (based on your age), your resting heart rate, and how active you are.

During exercise, your heart should be working hard enough for a healthy effect but not so hard that your heart is overworked. You benefit the most when your exercise heart rate is within the range of your target heart rate. You can take your pulse rate during or after exercise to see if you are exercising at your target heart rate.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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