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A view of a woman's wrist fitness tracker and phone. The fitness tracker shows"96" heartrate.
A view of a woman's wrist fitness tracker and phone. The fitness tracker shows"96" heartrate.

Quick Dose: What Is a Healthy Heart Rate?

Answers From a Cardiologist

For most adults, a resting heart rate — the number of times your heart beats while you are at rest — that is between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal.

Many different factors influence your heart rate (also called your pulse) explains Northwestern Medicine Cardiologist Nilay S. Shah, MD, MPH. Some of these include:

  • Overall fitness
  • Existing medical conditions
  • Air temperature
  • Emotions
  • Medication

When you do physical activities, your heart rate increases, and periodically checking your heart rate can help you track your health and well-being. Wearable technology, such as a smartwatch, makes this easy to do, but you can also check your heart rate manually by following these steps:

  • Press lightly on the inside of your wrist (on the thumb side) with the tips of your first two fingers (your pointer and middle fingers).
  • Count the number of beats for 30 seconds.
  • Multiply the number of beats your counted by two to learn your heart rate.

Your maximum heart rate is generally about 220 minus your age. For example, if you are 40 years old, subtract 40 from 220 to get an estimate of your maximum heart rate.
A heart rate that is too fast or too slow depends on the factors noted above. When your heart rate is too fast or slow, you may feel a fast or pounding heartbeat or feel lightheaded or dizzy.

If you have concerns about your heart rate or are experiencing abnormalities, you should discuss with your primary care physician or a cardiologist. They may recommend tests — such as an electrocardiogram or a home heart rhythm monitor — if appropriate.

Featured Experts

Nilay S. Shah, MD, MPH
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