Heart rate or pulse as it’s also known is the number of times our heart beats per minute. As you probably already know, the normal heart rate varies. It’s generally higher in young people and lower as you get older. It depends on your age, physical activity, weight, and other factors. Emotions play a part too – for example, your heart rate will certainly jump up when you’re scared or excited.
Usually, a heart rate between 60 and 100 BPM is considered normal. In children, this number may be higher, while in athletes, it may be lower. Children who train may have a pulse of 40-50 BPM – such variations are completely normal.
There are two different types of heart rate that can be measured – resting and maximum heart rate.
The Difference Between Resting and Maximum Heart Rate
The so-called resting heart rate is your pulse when you’re calmly sitting or lying down. For people aged 18+, the normal resting heart rate in the morning before they get out of bed is 60-100 BPM. For children aged 7-15, it’s a bit higher around 70-100 BPM.
According to the American Health Association, a resting heart rate below 60 doesn’t automatically mean that you’re suffering from some kind of problem.
Physically active people such as athletes often have a lower BPM since their muscles don’t need to work that hard to maintain it. Some medications can lower your heart rate as well, so it’s not automatically a condition. If, however, your resting heart rate is accompanied by dizziness, it may indicate a problem.
When it comes to maximum heart rate, there’s no definitive medical advice on when a resting heart rate is too high. A high resting heart rate is certainly not a good sign if it happens too often and without any reason. Heart rate in the upper levels can strain your heart muscle too much which can lead to several serious problems.
The maximum heart rate is calculated by the following formula: 220 – your age. For example, if you’re 40, your maximum heart rate will be 180 (220-40).
Calculating it manually is simple enough, yet when you work out the best idea would be to use gadgets such as a smartwatch or a heart rate monitor at the gym.
When Should I Get Worried?
A high resting heart rate when you’re, well, resting, can be triggered by a variety of factors. However, if it happens for no reason at all, you should definitely get to a doctor. It depends on your age as well. Here’s a chart which shows the normal heart rate for different age groups in males and females:
- 18-25 – 70-73 BPM
- 26-35 – 71-74 BPM
- 36-45 – 72-75 BPM
- 46-55 – 72-76 BPM
- 56-65 – 72-76 BPM
- 65+ years – 70-73 BPM
- 18-25 – 74-78 BPM
- 26-35 – 73-76 BPM
- 36-45 – 74-78 BPM
- 46-55 – 74-77 BPM
- 56-65 – 74-76 BPM
- 65+ years – 73-76 BPM
Normal Maximum Heart Rate
Depending on your age and physical activity, your maximum heart rate will also differ. Here’s how it should look in men and women during a high-load workout:
- 18-25 – 95-162 BPM
- 26-35 – 93-157 BPM
- 36-45 – 88-149 BPM
- 46-55 – 84-142 BPM
- 56-65 – 80-136 BPM
- 65+ years – 75-128 BPM
- 18-25 – 100-170 BPM
- 26-35 – 94-160 BPM
- 36-45 – 90-153 BPM
- 46-55 – 85-145 BPM
- 56-65 – 83-140 BPM
- 65+ years – 78-132 BPM
As mentioned, you can measure your heart rate with a gadget or a heart rate monitor if your gym has one. The measurements below are just general guidelines – the heart rate (both resting and maximum) is different from person to person. If you’re an athlete, chances are that these values will differ.
With that being said, unreasonable low or high BPM is a cause for concern. If it’s accompanied by certain symptoms, then you should see a doctor. Cardiovascular problems are no joke – the sooner you detect them, the better your chances of getting unscathed.