Average Resting Heart Rate by Age: All You Need to Know
Your heart is a hard-working muscle. During a lifetime, it will beat more than 3 billion times, drawing 2,000 gallons of blood through its chambers each day. As your heart beats, blood is pushed through your arteries to the rest of your body. Even when you're at rest, your heart is constantly working to pump blood and sustain vital organs. This process is autonomic, meaning that it's controlled by your nervous system and doesn't require you to think about it. Indeed, when we're active, our heart rates increase to pump more blood and oxygen to our muscles. When we're at rest, our heart rate slows down. However resting heart rate (RHR) - the number of times your heart beats per minute when you're at rest - is one of the most important indicators of your overall cardiovascular health and general readiness.
How Your Average Resting Heart Rate Changes with Age
A number of factors can influence your resting heart rate, including fitness level, medications, and even your age. Generally, a slower resting heart rate indicates better cardiovascular fitness as the heart is able to pump more efficiently. That's why athletes will tend to have lower average resting heart rates, having trained their heart muscles to work optimally over time.
Still, even in athletes, the average resting heart rate by age tends to decrease. Children have faster metabolisms and smaller hearts than adults so their average resting heart rate is slightly higher due to their hearts having to work harder. The average resting heart rate will decrease into adulthood and might decrease slightly into senior years. This does not, however, indicate improved fitness but is, rather, due to the aging process where an older heart muscle can stiffen and work less efficiently.
Average Resting Heart Rate By Age Breakdown
Knowing the average resting heart rate by age can give you a good idea of what's considered healthy for your age and demographic so that you can better understand your own health.
A Resting Heart Rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM) is considered normal, but 60 to 80 is optimal. Generally, a lower resting heart rate indicates more efficient heart function and greater cardiovascular health. If you are an athlete, your RHR can be as low as 40 bpm.
If your resting heart rate is significantly higher than the average resting heart rate by age, it's a good idea to consult with a doctor.
Keep in mind that many factors can influence your resting heart rate so don't panic if it's slightly higher or lower than average. However, a significantly high RHR could be indicative of issues like an overactive thyroid or Tachycardia (a heart condition where the heart beats too fast). A significantly low RHR might not be cause for concern but could indicate that you're taking beta blockers or have a history of heart conditions like bradycardia (a heart condition where the heart beats too slowly).
Knowing what's average for your demographic can be a helpful way to gauge your own cardiovascular health and take proactive steps to maintain a healthy heart.
How to Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
There are a few different ways that you can measure your resting heart rate but your pulse is one of the most convenient. Your pulse is where you can feel your heart pushing blood through your arteries. When the heart beats, it contracts and relaxes to pump blood. This process is what you feel as a pulse. So, while the pulse is a direct indication of your heart rate, you're not necessarily feeling your heart beating so much as the blood being pumped through your arteries. There are several places on your body where the arteries are close to the skin, making it possible for you to place your finger on the pulse point and count your heartbeat.
The most common and easiest pulse points are on the innards of the wrists (Radial artery), and on the side of the neck (Carotid artery).
To measure your resting heart rate:
- The best time is just after waking up
- Make sure you are sitting or lying down and that you have not moved a lot recently
- Place your index and middle finger on the innards of your wrist. You should feel a pulsing sensation.
- Once you've found it, count the number of beats in 30 seconds and then multiply by 2.
This will give you your resting heart rate.
Leveraging the Power of Circular to Measure Your Heart Rate
Simply knowing the average resting heart rate by age isn't as useful as using that information to better understand your own health. With the power of data at your fingertips, you can not only track your resting heart rate over time, but also see how it fluctuates based on your lifestyle; exercise, sleep, party, recovery, and stress.
The circular ring’s PPG sensor allows you to read your daily resting heart rate with high accuracy so that you can better understand how your body is responding to different activities and stressors and get a good picture of your overall cardiovascular health. Instead of having to find and measure your pulse manually throughout the day, you can now get an accurate resting heart rate reading whenever you want to check-in. In addition, Circular's smart notifications will alert you if there are any changes to your heart rate that could indicate a health issue.
Empowered with these metrics, you can proactively manage your cardiovascular health and avoid any potential heart issues down the road. While we know that the average resting heart rate by age is a valuable way to understand what is seen as healthy for your demographic, at the end of the day, only you can know what is normal for you. With Circular as your partner in health, you'll have all the essential tools on hand (quite literally!) so that you can better understand your body and make sure that you're always operating at your best.