Target Heart Rate and Exercise | Health and Fitness |

How fast should my heart be beating?

How fast should my heart be beating?

If you’re an adult, your heart should beat somewhere between 50 and 90 times per minute when you’re resting, regardless of your age or sex. If you’re a super-fit athlete, your heartbeat may be as low as 40 or 50 beats per minute. If you’re overweight, if you’re a smoker, or if you have high blood pressure, your heart rate may be a little on the fast side.

How do I measure my heart rate?

The easiest way to measure your heart rate, or pulse, is to use a heart-rate monitor. This is a band that goes around your chest and displays your heart rate on a wristwatch-like gadget. You can find these monitors, which cost $50 to $200, at most sporting-goods stores and many specialized Web sites that sell sports equipment.

Of course, if you don’t have a heart-rate monitor, you can measure your pulse the old-fashioned way. First, find your pulse in your wrist or neck.


Hold one hand (preferably the one without a watch) in front of you, with your palm turned upward. Press the first two fingertips (index and middle) of your other hand on the outer edge of your upturned wrist (under the thumb, just below the place where your hand meets your wrist), until you can feel a strong beat. Don’t use your thumb to feel for your pulse, because you can often feel a pulse in it as well.