Skip to content

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Pulse Measurement

Results continued...

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:

100–160

Children ages 1 to 10:

70–120

Children ages 11 to 17:

60–100

Adults:

60–100

Well-conditioned athletes:

40–60

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:

  • Activity or exercise.
  • Anemia.
  • Some medicines, such as decongestants and those used to treat asthma.
  • Fever.
  • Some types of heart disease.
  • An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
  • Stimulants such as caffeine, amphetamines, diet pills, and cigarettes.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Stress.

Slow pulse

A slow resting heart rate may be caused by:

  • Some types of heart disease and medicine to treat heart disease.
  • High levels of fitness.
  • An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

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: March 26, 2012
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.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW