How to Calculate a Resting Heart Rate


Your resting heart rate is the pace of your heart beat in your most relaxed state. According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal adult resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute and an elite athlete's heart rate can be as low as 40 to 60 beats per minute. A lower resting heart rate indicates good cardiovascular health and efficient heart function. Taking your resting heart rate is a simple as finding your pulse and counting the number of beats for 60 seconds. To obtain a more accurate measure, however, it is best to take readings over several days.

Things You'll Need

  • Heart rate monitor (optional)
  • Stopwatch
  • Notebook
  • Put your heart rate monitor on before going to bed. If you have a model with a strap, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Get a good night's sleep. The amount and quality of sleep affects your resting heart rate.

  • Read your heart rate monitor within minutes of waking up. Record the number in your notebook. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, go to Step 4.

  • Find your heart rate by placing your right middle and index fingers on the right side of your wind pipe, approximately one inch below your chin. Alternately, find your pulse on the interior right side of your left wrist. Do not press too hard or the pulse will disappear.

  • Use your stopwatch to count your pulse for 60 seconds. Record the number in your notebook.

  • Take your readings for seven days. Be sure to take your readings at the same time every morning.

  • Add all seven numbers together and divide them by seven. The resulting number is your average resting heart rate.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may also take a manual reading for 15 seconds and multiply the result by four, but a true 60-second reading is more accurate.
  • You may find heart rate monitors with and without straps. The ones with straps take constant readings but the ones without straps are more comfortable for sleeping.

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  • Photo Credit Heartbeat image by JASON WINTER from
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