What Is a Good Resting Heart Rate by Age?

Reviewed on 12/27/2021
Normal resting heart rate (RHR) values can range from anywhere between 60-100 beats per minute (bpm).
Normal resting heart rate (RHR) values can range from anywhere between 60-100 beats per minute (bpm).

Normal resting heart rate (RHR) values can range from anywhere between 60-100 beats per minute (bpm). As cardiovascular fitness increases, the resting heart rate value decreases. Resting heart rate is the number of beats per minute the heart takes while a person is fully rested. It is an indicator of both fitness and general health.

The below tables provide appropriate charts for RHR as per age and sex. 

Table 1. Resting heart rate values for men

Table 1. Resting heart rate (RHR) values for men (beats per minute)
 

Age (in years)

 

18-25 

 

26-35


36-45


46-55


56-65


65+

 

Athlete

 

40-52 

 

44-50

 

47-53

 

49-54

 

51-56

 

52-55

 

Excellent

 

56-61 


55-61


57-62

 

58-63

 

57-61


56-61

 

Good

 

62-65 

 

62-65

 

63-66

 

64-67

 

62-67

 

62-65

 

Above Average

 

66-69 

 

66-70

 

67-70

 

68-71

 

68-71

 

66-69

 

Average

 

70-73 

 

71-74

 

71-75

 

72-76

 

72-75

 

70-73

 

Below Average

 

74-81 

 

75-81


76-82


77-83


76-81


74-79

 

Poor

 

82+

 

82+

 

83+


84+


82+


80+

What factors affect the resting heart rate?

Several factors may affect resting heart rate:

  • Age: RHR can change with age, according to some studies.
  • Gender: On average, women's RHR tends to be 2-7 bpm higher than men’s.
  • Air temperature: RHR can increase during hot weather, but usually not more than 10 bpm.
  • Emotions: Strong feelings of stress, anxiety, or even happiness can raise the RHR.
  • Body position: RHR can be 3 bpm higher when sitting versus lying down. Similarly, RHR tends to increase a bit upon standing.
  • MedicationPrescription drugs, such as antidepressants and beta-blockers, can cause the RHR to be lower than it would without the medication.
  • Meditation: Yoga and pranayama if done regularly can cause reduced RHR.

What does resting heart rate readings indicate?

Resting heart rate is an indicator of fitness and general health.

  • In adults, a lower heart rate is correlated with a higher degree of fitness and a lower incidence of cardiac events, such as heart attacks.
  • Highly trained athletes can have an RHR as low as 40. This may be because the lower rate translates to a heart muscle that is stronger and can pump blood more efficiently. Another explanation is that with vigorous exercise, there is the release of nitrous oxide in the heart’s blood vessels, which increases the blood supply to the heart.
  • However, a consistently higher heart rate has been associated with cardiovascular issues and premature death.
  • A 2013 research that studied 3000 men for 16 years found that men with RHR greater than 90 were associated with triple the risk of death when compared to men with RHR below 80.
  • An observational study conducted in Norway that looked at 20,000 participants found similar results, even when controlled for factors, such as body mass index (BMI) and life.

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Is a resting heart rate of 52 bad?

Resting heart rate (RHR) is a quick way to determine how efficiently your heart is working. What is considered normal can vary greatly from person to person? Your RHR is the amount of blood your heart pumps when you're not exercising. If you're sitting or lying down, calm and relaxed and not sick, your heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).

Bradycardia (may or may not be normal):

  • If your RHR is consistently lower than 60 bpm (even 52 bpm), you have bradycardia (a slow heart rate), which may be a sign of excellent physical fitness (often seen in professional athletes and swimmers) or maybe a sign of illness, in which case it can be accompanied by light-headedness, dizziness or chest discomfort.
  • If your RHR is significantly lower than 60 bpm (even 52 bpm) and you don't feel well, you should see a doctor and get electrocardiography done.

Tachycardia (may not be normal):

  • If your RHR is consistently above 100 bpm, you have tachycardia and should see a doctor, especially if you have other symptoms such as chest tightness, fatigue, or shortness of breath.
  • Fast RHR (>100 bpm) can indicate various conditions. You could be dehydrated or have poor physical fitness, or it could be a sign of something more serious going on with your heart or lungs.

Checking your RHR is a noninvasive way to assess your health. Take your RHR after waking up for three consecutive mornings.

  • You must calculate the number of times your heart beats per minute. You can do so by counting your heartbeats for 10 seconds and multiplying the result by six.
  • Take the sum of your three different days' numbers. Add them up and divide them by three. This will give your RHR.
  • If you can't find your pulse, a digital blood pressure monitor will usually report heartbeats per minute.

The best results will be obtained immediately upon waking; however, if this is not possible, ensure that you rest quietly and distress for at least 15 minutes before determining your beats per minute.

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References
Health Direct. Resting Heart Rate. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/resting-heart-rate

Resting Heart Rate: https://www.copcp.com/Media/4d1e1fcf-c49e-4de2-a7a5-325f96175ded.pdf

Bradycardia: https://www.cardiosmart.org/topics/bradycardia

What Should Your Resting Heart Rate Be? https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/apr/what-should-your-resting-heart-rate-be/

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