Heart Health: What is a good heart rate?
Have you ever checked your pulse and wondered about your heart rate — the number of times your heart beats in a minute? You're not alone. But what is a good heart rate, and how do you know if you should be concerned?
Target heart rates
Your heart rate varies depending on what you're doing. If you're resting while watching a movie, your heart rate will be lower than when you are taking a power walk. Knowing your target and maximum heart rates can help you determine your risk for heart disease.
- Resting heart rate: For most adults, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Factors that can affect this rate include anxiety and stress, certain medications, hormones, and your level of physical activity. In general, the lower your resting heart rate, the healthier your heart muscle is, because it doesn't have to work as hard.
- Maximum heart rate: This is the highest number of beats per minute your heart reaches when it's working at maximum capacity. This occurs during strenuous exercise and can be anywhere between 150 and 200 beats per minute on average, depending on your age. In general, younger people have a higher maximum heart rate.
- Target heart rate during moderate physical activity: According to the American Heart Association, your target heart rate during moderate exercise should be about 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Use this chart from the American Heart Association as a guide as a guide:
||Target HR Zone 50 - 85%||Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%|
|20 years||100 - 170 beats per minute (bpm)||200 bpm|
|30 years||95 - 162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35 years||93 -157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40 years||90 - 153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45 years||88 - 149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50 years||85 - 145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55 years||83 - 140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60 years||80 - 136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65 years||78 - 132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70 years||75 - 128 bpm||150 bpm|
How to check your heart rate
Staying physically active helps keep your heart healthy. It's a good idea to check your heart rate periodically while exercising. If you have a smart watch or another wearable activity tracker, it's easy to make sure your heart rate is in the target range, but you can also do this manually. Find your pulse by putting the tips of your first two fingers on the artery located on the inside of your wrist. Press lightly, count the beats for 30 seconds, then multiply the number by two to determine your beats per minute.
If your heart rate is too high, lower the intensity of your workout, and if it's a little low, you might want to push yourself a little harder. If you're just starting to exercise regularly, aim for the lower end of your target zone and gradually work your way up.
Does blood pressure affect your heart rate?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it pushes against the artery walls. Your blood pressure and your heart rate are not directly linked. Having a higher-than-normal heart rate doesn't necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure, and vice versa. However, your blood pressure is another important signal of how healthy your heart is.
When you have your blood pressure checked, the measurement contains two numbers. The first number, systolic blood pressure, is the pressure that builds up when your heart beats. The second number, diastolic blood pressure, is the measurement between beats, or when your heart rests. The measurements are expressed as milligrams of mercury, or "mmHg."
If you have elevated or high blood pressure, follow medical advice on how to lower your numbers. High blood pressure puts you at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Your provider might prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure, such as beta blockers. These slow nerve impulses in the heart so it doesn't need to work as hard. You can also make some of the following lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure:A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. According to the American Heart Association, your blood pressure is elevated when the systolic number is 120 to 129 and the diastolic is less than 80. You have high blood pressure when your measurement is 130/80 or higher.
- Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.
- Don't smoke.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Take the heart health quiz to find out your risk for heart disease.