Resting Heart Rate Average, Heart Rate Good, Heart Rate Variability

Resting Heart Rate Average, Heart Rate Good, Heart Rate Variability: Pulse and heart rate normal values

Our pulse (or heart rate) is the rate at which our heart beats over a minute. This rhythm can be regular or not (arrhythmia), too slow (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia). Let’s see in this article, what are the values of a normal pulse and what are the causes of its acceleration and deceleration?

Cardiovascular disease: how to measure your heart rate and what are the standards?

The heart rate is measured either manually or using a heart rate monitor. To do this, place your index and middle fingers on the artery of the neck or wrist and count the number of beats you feel in one minute (bpm). The standards are as follows:

  • in an adult at rest: 60 to 100 beats per minute. The frequency is often higher in women than in men;
  • in a new born: between 120 and 160 beats per minute, this figure decreases when the child grows;
  • in athletes, the heart rate is often low, it can go down to 40 beats per minute;
  • the heart rate accelerates in the event of physical activity to better oxygenate the muscles; however, it must not exceed a certain threshold; to find out, you must subtract your age from: 226 for a woman, and 220 for a man. Example in a 30-year-old woman: 226-30 = 196. Her heart rate during physical activity should not exceed 196 bpm.

Heart rate: the best health asset for athletes

Heart rate is one of the most reliable indicators of our physical condition. It varies according to our sporting activity. Rachid Zain, consultant for the Sport, health and physical preparation project (University of Paris 12) takes stock and gives us ideas for optimizing his cardiac capital.

cardiac frequency

The heart rate, we do not always know what it is about. “It is an indicator of the intensity of aerobic effort”, explains Rachid Ziane, physical preparation specialist. It gives an account of the activity of the heart in particular and gives precious information on its capacities to adapt to effort. Sport would help keep this organ healthy.

What is heart rate?

There is no ideal heart rate, “it is a completely individual variable and relative to the intensity of the effort” adds Rachid Ziane. In terms of heart rate, there are 3 main ones: at rest, maximum (FCM) and on exertion. Coaches also talk about reserve heart rate (see box). However, that at rest “must be low” says Rachid Ziane.

The slower our heart beats, the better! In healthy sedentary people, it is “between 60 and 80 beats per minute”, adds our specialist. For cardiologists *, it is too high when it exceeds 70 beats / minute. Figures that can vary depending on different factors of course, starting with our physical activities.

How to assess your resting heart rate?

It is better to do it in the morning, just after waking up while lying in a state of complete relaxation. You can take your pulse at the wrist or the carotid … or even use a heart rate monitor.

How to optimize your cardiac capital?

For a heart in great shape and therefore an extended life expectancy, the regular practice of a sport will be decisive. For example, a sportsman who trains regularly can drop to 45, while a champion of the Tour de France, turns him around 30, at rest … To lower the heart rate, these are the so-called sports ” endurance “who win the palm!

Regular physical activity has lasting effects. Among these, we find, for example, brisk walking, cross-country running, cycling, rowing, cross-country skiing… or their equivalents known as cardio training in fitness rooms: rower, biking, elliptical trainer or even fitness.

For good results in complete safety, progressivity is essential … You must therefore take your level into account.


Resuming the activity by dividing the effort (by series of 5 to 15 minutes) is a solution:

Solo (jogging or cycling) don’t get exhausted! Define a flexible course: endurance will come during the sessions.

Indoors, seek the advice of a coach.


Set goals based on heart rate and record your efforts on a training diary. This will help you plan a progression.


Please note, in competition, the heart rate is not a performance indicator. You have to take into account indicators related to the activity (distance, speed, elevation). If you are addicted to surpassing yourself, consider training by changing your pace and intensity.

Sport and our heart

Its effects on our heart rate can be explained. They are both structural and functional.

“A trained heart has larger cavities. To pump the same amount of blood, it therefore needs to beat less frequently. A trained heart is also more powerful, its walls are more muscular … it provides less effort! From a functional point of view, its electrical activity is also modified, “says Rachid Ziane.

Resting heart rate

It’s the number of contractions or heartbeats per minute … at rest. The ideal is to measure it in the morning upon waking.

Maximum heart rate

This is the heart rate that should not normally be exceeded after physical exertion. It depends on the subject’s age. Astrand, a Swedish physiologist, has established a formula for evaluating it:

HR Max = 220 – age +/- 10 pulses

At 20, for example, it would be 200 beats per minute. At 40, the maximum frequency would be around 180 (i.e. 220 – 40). Of course, this is the theoretical maximum heart rate. It is out of the question and even dangerous to try to train at this heart rate.

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Healthy heart

A healthy heart is the engine of all life. It provides the body with oxygen and nutrients through the blood. It transports waste products to the lungs and kidneys, among other organs, so that they can be eliminated from the body.

All this is made possible by its regular contraction; approximately 100 millilitres of blood is pumped into our body with each beat. The heart is slightly larger than a man’s closed fist and weighs, for adults, around 300 grams. It is located in the middle of the chest, slightly tilted to the left behind the sternum.

  • How is the heart made?
  • How does a healthy heart rate work?
  • What is the level of a normal heart rate?
  • What is the correlation between heart rate and a healthy lifestyle?
  • How is the heart made?

The heart is a hollow organ, made up largely of muscle tissue. The septum divides the heart into a left half and a right half; each half is subdivided into a ventricle (lower part) and an atrium (upper part).

A movable valve is located between the atrium and the ventricle on each side. These valves ensure that blood flows in the right direction: from the atrium to the ventricle. There are also two semi-lunar valves, located at the outlet of each ventricle, which help regulate blood flow to the body and lung circulation.

Resting Heart Rate Average, Heart Rate Good, Heart Rate Variability

The heart beats sixty to ninety times a minute, pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the organs. Electric impulses from the sinus node are responsible for a continuous heartbeat. The sinus node is located at the top of the right atrium and is a natural pacemaker of the heart.

The electrical signals, then activate the musculature of the atria, reach the atrioventricular node and finally reach the ventricles, where a muscle contraction is caused. This muscle contraction constitutes the heart rate.

Schematic representation of a healthy heart in diastole and systole

How does a healthy heart rate work?

A healthy heart rate consists of two phases. In the filling phase (Diastole), oxygen-poor blood flows from the bloodstream into the right atrium, through the valve, and into the right ventricle. At the same time, oxygen-rich blood flows from the lungs into the left atrium, through the valve, and into the left ventricle.

The contraction phase (Systole) follows: the heart muscle contracts, the valves between the atria and the ventricles close, the pressure in the ventricles increases and the semi-lunar valves open. Through this mechanism, oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle is pumped to the lungs, and oxygen-rich blood to the circulation in the body.

While the ventricles are emptying, the atria are already filling with new blood and the process starts all over again. The frequency with which the heart beats to pump blood throughout the body is called the heart rate.

How do you know if your resting pulse is normal?

CardioSecur is the only mobile ECG device that monitors your heart rate, heart rate (BPM) and blood flow to determine your heart health. It allows you to record a professional ECG if you experience discomfort in the heart or palpitations.

What is the level of a normal heart rate?

Heart rate describes the number of beats measured per minute (bpm) – this number is an indicator of the workload of the cardiovascular system.

The heart rate is classified according to whether it is low, normal or high:

  •       Bradycardia: slow heart rate
  •       Normo common: normal heart rate
  •       Tachycardia: high heart rate

Heart rate depends on many factors, including age and physical condition. When at rest, the heart rate is called “resting pulse” or “resting heart rate” and gives information about the condition of the heart.

The standard resting pulse values ​​based on gender, age and physical condition are shown in the table below. If the measured value is outside the expected range, we recommend that you consult your doctor for further monitoring.

The maximum pulse (maximum heart rate) is the frequency reached under a maximum endurance load. It is an individual value that decreases with age. It can be determined during a medical examination.

What is the correlation between heart rate and a healthy lifestyle?

If the heart rate is higher than the recommended resting pulse values, the heart muscle should be trained. A high heart rate can be a sign of stress or poor physical condition. By practicing sport and adopting a healthy diet, you can train the circulation and therefore the heart muscle.

If the heart rate continues to be too high, it may in some cases be a cardiac arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation. If left untreated, it can lead to a stroke.

If you are starting to exercise or to do sport again, you can use your heart rate to control the intensity of the desired cardiac load in relation to your training target. A training goal can be to strengthen the heart muscle and the whole body, for example after an operation.

A medical heart rate monitor helps to control the heart rate during sport so as not to overload the heart, this is important especially for beginners.

Indeed, the higher the physical load, the more the body needs oxygen. The heart must therefore increase the frequency of its beats in order to pump enough oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

In a trained athlete, the heart needs fewer beats to pump the same amount of blood into the circulation as in an untrained person.

Measure your resting heart rate

On the sole basis of measuring the resting heart rate, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to give reliable advice about health. Here’s why.

The heart rate is the consequence of the contraction of the ventricles of the heart. Its measurement is expressed in number of beats per minute (bpm). We also talk about heart rate.

How to measure your resting heart rate?

Resting Heart Rate Average, Heart Rate Good, Heart Rate Variability

It is traditionally done by applying the fingers on the path of the radial artery at the wrist. A slight pressure of the fingers makes it possible to perceive the pulsations of the blood in the artery, this gesture is commonly called “taking the pulse”.

There are other places in the body where this palpation is possible (for example where the arteries are fairly close to the skin: at the neck, groin or lower extremities where?).

The measurement can also be made automatically with devices: electrocardiograms, sociometric devices for measuring blood pressure, pulse oximeters. Since 2011, applications for mobile phones (iPhone and Android) have offered a pulse measurement by simply applying the index finger to the lens of the camera on the back of the smartphone.

What to think of the result?

Without knowledge of the characteristics of the person, an isolated number of pulsations has no meaning in itself. Without further information, it is not possible – even for a doctor – to draw valid conclusions. Similarly, no mechanic would say that the engine of a car is in good condition on the pretext that it runs at a normal rate. You have to know many other parameters.

You should know that a person can have a slow (or fast) pulse without having any heart disease and, conversely, one can suffer from a real heart disorder even when the heart rate is within so-called “normal” values. In addition, there is no specific limit from which we can deduce a risk of disease.

Before trying to interpret a heart rate figure, you have to know how to ask yourself a few questions: is the pulse measured at rest? Was the measurement made during discomfort or + “palpitations”? Are the beats regular or not? How old is the person?

Is she taking drugs that can slow the heart? Does she suffer from illnesses such as thyroid problems, anaemia or fever which accelerate the heart rate? Is the person athletic without a history of cardiovascular disease or on the contrary completely sedentary? Etc … The list of questions is so long that it cannot be detailed here.

In practice, no doctor can tell whether a person’s heart rate is normal or not without having replaced the measured value in a context and having questioned and examined the person.

Measuring the heart rate is easy to do, it is not uncommon for a person to wonder if the reading is “normal” or not. You can find on the internet a lot of sites giving answers. But they are most often false by omission because an isolated value does not allow to be affirmative.

Having made these reservations, we can however try to give indications for the heartbeats measured after at least ten minutes of rest in a person free from any disease and not taking medication playing on the heart rate.

They are deduced from the lessons of epidemiological studies carried out in a very large number of adult people. Here are the comments we can offer. These are very general indications, without any individual application.

Premature death: a heart rate greater than 75 at rest would double the risk

A heart rate greater than 75 per minute at rest, around age 50, would be linked to an increased risk of heart disease over the next 11 years. It would also double the risk of premature death in men.

Resting heart rate – the number of heart beats per minute without significant physical activity – generally changes with age. A normal resting heart rate is between 50 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).

The researchers wanted to know what impact a resting heart rate above normal could have on long-term health, but also if it influenced the risk of premature death (before the age of 75). The results were published in the journal Open Heart.

A 21-year study

They show that an increase in the rate in men in their 50s is associated with an increased risk of heart disease over the next 11 years. To reach this conclusion, the researchers studied a group of men aged 50 and over chosen at random from the general population, all born in 1943 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

In 1993, out of a total of 1,450 people who completed a lifestyle questionnaire, 798 had a family history of cardiovascular disease and high stress levels. They also had a full medical exam including their resting heart rate. This allowed them to be divided into four categories: 55 bpm or less; 56-65 bpm; 66-75 bpm; and over 75 bpm.

The resting heart rate was measured again in 2003 and 2014, (respectively 654 and 536 people) in order to follow any change in frequency, treatment, death or death caused by heart disease or stroke, until 2014. At During the 21-year surveillance period, 119 of the 798 men died before their 71st birthday, 237 (almost 28%) developed cardiovascular disease, and 113 (just over 14%) developed coronary artery disease.

Double the risk of death in those over 75 btm

According to the study, men whose resting heart rate was over 55 bpm in 1993 were more likely to smoke, be less physically active and more stressed than those whose rate was lower. They were also more likely to have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as higher blood pressure and weight.

In those with a resting heart rate greater than 75 beats per minute in 1993, researchers found an approximately twice as high risk of death from any cause, from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, compared to those with resting heart rate of 55 or less.

In contrast, among those with a stable heart rate between 1993 and 2003, the risk of cardiovascular disease was reduced by 44% over the next 11 years compared to a resting heart rate that had increased during this period. The researchers point out that this is an observational study which, as such, does not establish the cause.

The research was limited to men and the age of the participants may have been an influencing factor, say the researchers. However, it does prove that it may be important to monitor changes in the resting heart rate over time to anticipate the risk of future cardiovascular disease.


It is already quite complicated to adapt your sports practice according to your heart rate, if in addition you integrate the concept of resting heart rate …

But don’t panic, Tanguy Davin, Research and Development Engineer at Decathlon Sport slab explains everything!

In short, the heart rate (HR) is the number of beats that the heart makes in one minute, it has for unit the bpm. The HR changes during the day and can be modified by different stimuli such as daily activity, sport, stress, consumption of coffee, energy drinks, drugs …


In sports, medicine or everyday life, HR can be measured and analysed simply based on several indicators, such as resting heart rate (resting heart rate), maximum heart rate, heart rate reserve…

This is in order to adapt his sports practice, to prevent / diagnose certain diseases, but also in order to have an overview of the person’s state of health and well-being.

Indeed, resting HR, which is the minimum heart rate when the body is in a complete state of relaxation (for example in the morning upon waking), has been widely studied (1-2, 4-5) by scientists. Epidemiological studies on several thousand people over several decades have shown a link between resting HR and life expectancy (risk of mortality).

They show that a low resting heart rate is correlated with greater life expectancy and a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

On the strength of this observation, the European guide to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases recommends adopting a lifestyle allowing not to raise the resting heart rate, by practicing regular physical activity, by reducing psychological stress conditions, then excessive consumption of stimulants like caffeine.


To accurately determine your resting HR, it is preferable to take the measurement in the morning upon waking, while lying down, in a state of complete relaxation.

The most reliable tools are the heart rate monitors, but it is also possible to take your pulse on your wrist or carotid for example.

A resting HR is considered to be:

  • Low for a value <60 bpm.
  • Normal between 60 and 80 bpm.
  • High for a value> 80 bpm.

In a regular sportsman it is common to observe a resting HR below 60bpm, in very enduring athletes it is even possible to have a resting HR of 30bpm. 


Sports performed at a moderate intensity (between 60 – 80% cardio zone) such as running, cycling, swimming, Nordic walking, can promote the decrease in resting HR.

This type of exercise must be done in sections of 20 min minimum with a suitable warm-up of 10 min beforehand.

Studies show adaptation after several months of training. When resuming an endurance sport, it is essential to start slowly and increase the duration, frequency and intensity of the exercise as you go.

For this type of goal, it is essential to listen to your body and have fun during practice.

Resting heart rate: normal values

Heart rate tells us about our general health. Too high or too slow a heart rate may in some cases require suitable measures. But first of all, it is necessary to take the measurement of his heart rate.

Heart rate: where is the norm?

To self-assess your heart rate, simply place your fingers flat on the radial artery located on the inside of your wrist. By pressing lightly, you can clearly perceive regular pulsations. These correspond to the passage of blood through the artery.

The rhythm of these pulses tells us about heart rates. Normal values ​​taken at rest vary according to age: between 90 and 110 beats per minute for a child, between 80 and 85 for a teenager, between 50 and 85 for an adult, between 60 and 70 for an elderly person.

Heart rate too low or too high: should you worry?

Heart rate depends on many factors: age, gender, weight, physical condition, general health, taking medication. The emotions that we feel on a daily basis (anxiety, anxiety, worry, stress, elation, joy …) also influence the heart rate. In case of doubt, it is recommended to consult a health professional who can carry out more complete examinations (electrocardiogram among others). He can then analyse the situation and, possibly, make a diagnosis.

When do we say that the voltage is too low?

Blood pressure, commonly known as blood pressure, is considered normal at 120/80 mmHg (millimetres of mercury). We talk about high blood pressure when it exceeds 140/90 mmHg and low blood pressure when it is below 110/70 mmHg in men and 100/60 mmHg in women.

The first data corresponds to the blood pressure at the time when the heart contracts. It’s systolic blood pressure. The second data indicates diastolic blood pressure, that is to say during the relaxation phase of the heart muscle.

Low blood pressure: when to consult?

In the vast majority of cases, low blood pressure is less worrying than too high blood pressure. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor if the low blood pressure is accompanied by fatigue that sets in and the person complains of having “wobbly legs” for several days. Repeated dizziness accompanied by a drop in blood pressure are also alerts that should lead to consultation.

Reduced blood pressure and heart failure: a possible cause

Apart from orthostatic hypotension due to a sudden change in position and postprandial hypotension following a meal, the drop in blood pressure can be caused by serious pathology. This is the case when the cardiovascular system is weakened.

Heart failure may be the cause. First, diagnose the cause of too low blood pressure to give the patient the proper treatment.

What is a normal heart rate?

Heart rate, also called heartbeat, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. A normal heart rate depends on the individual, their age, body size, physical fitness, cardiovascular status, whether they are standing or sitting, whether or not they are taking medication and even the air temperature.

Emotions can also have an impact on the heart rate, since the heart rate rises when a danger is detected or when other stressors are experienced.

How to measure the heart rate?

There are several areas of the body where your heartbeat can be measured – the wrist, on the side of the neck, the groin and the top of the foot. To get an accurate reading, put your finger on one of these areas of the body and count the number of beats for 60 seconds. You can also do this for 15 seconds and multiply the number obtained by 4, or for 10 seconds and multiply by 6, but it is recommended to do this count of pulses for 60 seconds when possible. It is also better to sit quietly for 10 minutes before taking your pulsations at rest.

Resting heart rate

For adults 18 and older, a resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm), which depends on an individual’s physical condition. For children aged 6 to 15, the resting heart rate is between 70 and 100 bpm. Athletes and people in excellent physical condition can have heart rates of 40 beats per minute.

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