How to Calculate your Pulse Rate with a Pulse Rate Chart

November 12, 2012

How to Calculate your Pulse Rate with a Pulse Rate Chart

Its a good thing to know your pulse rate. This will tell you whether you are heart healthy or not. The nice thing is that you don’t have to have any equipment to do this. But, you do need to know what healthy and unhealthy numbers are. Shortly, we’ll look at this and find out what your resting pulse and exercise pulse is and look at a pulse rate chart. First, we need to define some terms and show you have to make proper measurements.

Medically speaking your pulse rate (heartbeat) is defined as the rate at which the heart beats in 1 minute. Pulse rate is referred to as normal, fast (tachycardia), or slow (bradycardia). There are certain areas of the body where this rate can be felt and measured. These places have large arteries and veins close to the surface of the skin such as your wrist, inner arm and neck where throbbing can be felt. Your heartbeat can be felt in those areas by pressing your index, middle, and third fingers on that area against the bone behind it.

Although the normal pulse rate is usually between 60 to 100 beats/min, some individuals may have medical issues that alter this. Things that can alter pulse rate include heart arrhythmias, sex, age, body temperature, pain, emotion, exercise and blood pressure. The average pulse rate for an adult at rest is somewhere between 70-80 beats per minute (bpm). Pulse rates higher than 100 bpm are considered to be fast (tachycardia) and pulse rates that are slow than 60 bpm are said to be slow or bradycardia. Infants have high pulse rates running around 110 bpm and females have higher pulse rates than men in general. A well tuned athlete has a low pulse rate ranging from 40 to 50 bpm. Shortly, we will look at a pulse rate chart for heartbeat rates when exercising.

Before we look at the pulse rate charts, we’ll learn how to measure your pulse rate and this can be done in the privacy of your home, outside or with equipment at the pharmacy. In fact, this is something you should do on a regular basis and keep a record of it. If you are at home, place the tips of the index, index and third fingers on the palm side of your wrist or lower part of the neck. What you want to do next is to count the number of pulses (pressures) you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply that number by 6 to get the total heart beats for 1 minute. You might want to repeat this several times to get a more accurate number of pulses. Once you have your rate, take a look a pulse rate chart (which is below) to see if your heart is working properly. What you want to do is measure your resting heart rate then measure during and after some form of exercise to get an idea of your fitness state.

To measure your resting pulse rate, you will need to sit and relax for at least ten minutes. Place your index, middle and third fingers on the inside of your wrist as before and count the number of beats for 10 seconds. Multiply that by 6 again to get the total number of heart beats per minute. Look on the pulse rate chart to see if you are in the healthy heart range for resting heart rate. You want to do this again when you are exercising and just after you have finished your exercises. Charts are listed below for normal and exercise pulse rates.

Heart Rate Chart: Babies to Adults


Beats Per Minute (BPM)

Babies to Age 1

100 – 160

Children ages 1-10

60 – 140

Children age 10+ and adults

60 – 100


40 – 60

Let’s take a look at heart pulse rate during exercise. Target heart rate refers to the pulse rate the heart must pump during exercise for maximum benefit. The medical community defines this target heart rate about 60 to 85 percent of the maximum heart rate. Anything above this is considered harmful to the body and cardiovascular system. See pulse rate chart below.


Target Heart Rate (HR) Zone (60-85%)

Predicted Maximum Heart Rate


120 – 170



117 – 166



114 – 162



111 – 157



108 – 153



105 – 149



102 – 145



99 – 140



96 – 136



93 – 132



90 – 128


Your actual values

Target HR

Max. HR

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