Heart Rate

Heart Rate: An Overview

The heart rate is the regular rhythm at which the heart beats. It is the number of times the heart beats in a minute and is usually expressed as beats per minute (bpm). The average human heart rate at rest is 60 to 70 bpm. A healthy adult heart rate can vary from 60-100 bpm, depending on age and physical condition.

Regular physical activity or a strenuous activity can temporarily increase a person's heart rate. However, some medical conditions can increase or decrease a person's heart rate. It is important to talk to a doctor if you experience a consistently higher or lower heart rate than normal for you.

Factors that Affect Heart Rate

  • Regular physical activity. Exercise increases your heart rate.
  • Age. As people age, their heart rate slows down.
  • Body position. Standing up can increase heart rate.
  • Stress. Anxiety and emotional stress can increase heart rate.
  • Medications. Some medicines, such as beta blockers, can slow a person's heart rate.
  • Caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can cause an increase in heart rate.

Measuring Heart Rate

Heart rate can be measured manually or electronically. Manual measurement can be done with two fingers placed on the pulse. Electronic heart rate monitoring can also be used. This can be done with a chest strap connected to a device that measures the heart rate. Some devices, such as fitness trackers, also track heart rate.

It is important to talk to a doctor if you have questions or concerns about your heart rate. There may be medical conditions that can affect your heart rate and a doctor can help diagnose and treat those conditions.