What Should Your Heart Rate Be?

Do you want to know what your heart rate should be, the quick answer is to ask your doc. Generally when we talk about your heart rate, we are asking you to check your pulse when resting, and pulse after waking in the morning is probably most consistent.

To check your pulse it’s probably most accurate at your wrist, and you can trust your wrist monitor for most purposes. If you want to check yourself place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist. When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six or if you count for 15 sec multiply that by 4 to calculate your beats per minute.

Normal is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, above or below you should probably check with your doc. Trained athletes can have pulse rates of 40 when resting.

What your heart rate is after a work out, after sex, or during an anaerobic or aerobic or HITT set should obviously send your heart rate up, and it shouldn’t take ‘too long’ to get back down to the resting level.

Maximum heart rate during workout is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you’re 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise

Back to what you should be. Check your pulse. What is it? What was it last year, and ten years ago?

High heart rates can be due to a number of factors, nerves, sure, that’s part of “the jitters.” But it may not just mean you are overweight, and out of shape, yes, it means that too…but it might mean a serious health concern. The National Institute of Health has decided to study the beating of the heart.

And heart rates over 80 (what was yours? check again) may mean poor health according to the ARIC study . And for the first time they looked at the consequences of an abnormal heart rate on your kidneys. Higher than normal heart rates don’t help the kidneys either.

Women may in fact have lower heart rates than men, but the general cut off for 80 is right now used for both women and men. So if you need to think about why your heart rate may be abnormal, go see your primary health care provider.

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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