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What Should My Pulse Be - How to Check Your Pulse Rate - BPM Chart

  • Published: 2011-06-09 (Revised/Updated 2017-10-23) : Disabled World (Disabled World).
  • Synopsis: Instructions on how to check your pulse rate (bpm) includes a normal beats per minute pulse rate charts for children and adults.

Your pulse is defined as the rate at which your heart beats. Your pulse is usually called your heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats each minute (bpm). The pulse may be palpated in any place that allows an artery to be compressed against a bone, such as at the neck (carotid artery), at the wrist (radial artery), behind the knee (popliteal artery), on the inside of the elbow (brachial artery), and near the ankle joint (posterior tibial artery). The pulse can also be measured by listening to the heart beat directly (auscultation), traditionally using a stethoscope. You check your pulse rate by counting the beats in a set period of time (at least 15 to 20 seconds) and multiplying that number to get the number of beats per minute.

Main Document

Quote: "You can measure your pulse rate anywhere an artery comes close to the skin, such as in your wrist, neck, temple area, groin, behind the knee, or top of your foot."

By checking your pulse, and comparing the resulting beats per minute (BPM) using the pulse rate chart below, you can find out how well your heart is working, as well as your general health and fitness levels.

Pulse rates vary from person to person. The normal pulse rate for humans is usually 60 to 100 beats per minute, however, there are certain medical conditions such as cardiac arrhythmia which may alter the normal pulse rate of an individual. Other influencing factors include your age, gender and fitness level.

How To Check Your Pulse Rate

Checking pulse rate on the wrist
About This Image: Checking pulse rate on the wrist
You can measure your pulse rate anywhere an artery comes close to the skin, such as in your wrist, neck, temple area, groin, behind the knee, or top of your foot.

Baby and Child Pulse Rate (BPM)
1st month of life - 70-190 bpm
Between 1 and 11 mths - 80-160 bpm
1 and 2 yrs - 80-130 bpm
3 and 4 yrs - 80-120 bpm
5 and 6 yrs - 75-115 bpm
Between 7 and 9 yrs - 70-110 bpm
10 years of age plus - 60-100 bpm


The chart below shows target heart rates for different ages. An adults maximum heart rate is around 220 bpm minus your age.

Average Pulse Rate for Adults
AgeTarget Heart Rate 50 - 85%Average Maximum Heart Rate 100%
20 years100-170 beats per minute200 beats per minute
30 yrs95-162 bpm190 bpm
35 yrs93-157 bpm185 bpm
40 yrs90-153 bpm180 bpm
45 yrs88-149 bpm175 bpm
50 yrs85-145 bpm170 bpm
55 yrs83-140 bpm165 bpm
60 yrs80-136 bpm160 bpm
65 yrs78-132 bpm155 bpm
70 yrs75-128 bpm150 bpm


It is recommended that a physician be consulted for advice in event of doubts or therapy.

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