What Should My Pulse Be?

You can measure your pulse on the top of the foot, wrist, groin or neck because arteries are very close to the skin in these areas. The wrist is easily the most common area to measure the pulse, which has led to this measurement being called the radial pulse. Learning the instructions for measuring your pulse rate and what a normal pulse rate per minute is can help you determine whether or not your pulse is at a healthy level.

How to Measure the Pulse

It is easy to take your pulse. There is no special equipment involved, though a digital second recorder or a watch with a second hand can be helpful for your measurements.

  1. Turn your wrist so your palm is facing upward.
  2. Place the index and middle finger of the opposite hand on your wrist. They should sit around an inch below the base of the hand.
  3. Press these fingers down onto the wrist, feeling for the gap between the outside bone and the middle tendons. If done correctly you should feel the throb of your pulse.
  4. Count each beat of the pulse for 10 seconds, then multiply this total by 6 to get your total heart rate per minute.

What Should My Pulse Be?

Normal Pulse Rate Chart


Normal Pulse Rate

Babies up to age 1


Children 1-10


Children and adults over 10


Fit athletes


Target Pulse Rate

You will lessen your cardiovascular risks and gain the maximum level of benefits if you exercise in the target heart rate zone. This usually means the point where your exercise heart rate or pulse is between 60-80 percent of your maximum heart rate. In order to predict your maximum heart rate, use this formula:

220- your age = the predicted maximum heart rate

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