A heart rate of 120 is dangerous

Resting heart rate

Released from visomatCategory (s): Cardiovascular knowledge

The resting pulse ("normal pulse") says how often our heart has to beat in one minute in order to supply the body with sufficient blood. In healthy adults, the resting heart rate is between approx. 60 and 80 beats per minute.

How fast the heart beats when at rest depends on the age and is different for everyone. Our heart rate rises when we move or be active because more blood has to be pumped into the muscles.

Have you always wondered what your heart rate says? In this article you will find out whether your resting heart rate is normal and receive practical resting heart rate tables.

What you will find on this page

What is a normal pulse?

The resting heart rate is the pulse that we have when we are at rest. It is also known as the “normal pulse”. The ideal resting heart rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute. Like the heart rate in general, the heart rate at rest is not a fixed value, but depends on many other factors. These include

  • the weather
  • the daytime
  • Hormones
  • Infections and fever
  • stress
  • alcohol
  • caffeine

Sometimes our pulse is racing and the heart beats up to the neck, even when at rest. Our physical and psychological condition can therefore be measured using the pulse. That is why the resting heart rate is an important indicator for medical professionals.
In addition to a normal pulse rate, the pulse pressure should also be normal.

What is a low heart rate?

From a low pulse, one Bradycardia one speaks of less than 60 beats per minute in adults. Bradycardia is particularly common in trained athletes when the heart has adapted to the exercise.

A low resting heart rate has a number of causes. Athletes often have a low pulse because a well-trained heart can pump significantly more blood into the muscles with one heartbeat and therefore has to beat less. Patients who take medication such as sedatives, beta blockers, or opiates also have a slower pulse.

However, there can also be diseases behind it:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimoto
  • Meningitis
  • Myocarditis
  • Heart failure

Therefore, as a precaution, a too low pulse should be clarified by a doctor.

What is a high pulse?

A high heart rate is not synonymous with illness. In the short term, our pulse can be influenced by many factors such as B. Exercise, fever, or excitement increase. Pregnant women also have a higher heart rate in order to supply the baby with sufficient blood in the womb. However, if the resting heart rate is permanently increased, this should be examined by a doctor to rule out a serious illness. The risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke increases from a sustained pulse of over 77 beats per minute.

If your resting heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute, this is called tachycardia, a heartbeat that is too fast.

People with a low resting heart rate are often more aware of an increase in heart rate. It is therefore advisable to measure the pulse in such situations, e.g. with a wrist measuring device such as the visomat handy soft.

If the number of your pulse beats is actually permanently increased, you should discuss this with your doctor.

Recognize arrhythmias | © visomat

What is the pulse

The pulse is the rhythmic expansion and contraction of our vessel walls, which is triggered by the action of the heart. The heart is the motor of our blood circulation and constantly pumps blood through our body. In this way, it ensures that organs, tissues and cells are supplied with sufficient oxygen and nutrients. The aortic walls expand due to the increase in pressure and contract again due to the elasticity. The resulting wave-like movement is called a pulse wave or pulse.

The vascular expansion of the arteries can be determined by manual keying or by electronic pulse measurement on the wrist and in different parts of the body. The number of cardiac contractions corresponds to the number of the felt or measured pulse as a resting pulse or during exercise.

Pulse can be divided into arterial and venous pulse. The venous pulse is usually considered less relevant from a medical point of view. One speaks here of a retrograde (backwards-directed) transmission of the heart's action in the vessels. On the other hand, the arterial pulse (anterograde, forward-directed conduction) receives more clinical attention. It provides information about the individual heart rhythm, the effectiveness of the heart's action, the blood pressure as well as the rate of systolic pressure increase and the filling volume of the vessels.

Loss of heart rate, the most important indicator of cardiac arrest, is when the heart rate can no longer be felt or measured.

Which resting heart rate is dangerous?

A resting heart rate below 50 and above 90 should be observed. Since sport, but also previous illnesses, have a strong influence on your resting heart rate, not every deviation from the normal values ​​is dangerous per se. Doctors will therefore ask about your overall situation and leisure time behavior when taking the anamnesis.

In addition to a too low pulse rate and tachycardia, the irregular pulse is also considered dangerous. The heart rate contains so-called arrhythmias or cardiac arrhythmias. The pulse is then either too slow or too fast (tachycardia).

Irregular beats can have various causes. These include thyroid dysfunction, stress, and potassium deficiency. We perceive severe cardiac arrhythmias as a heart stumble or a racing heart, sometimes also as a stopping of the heartbeat. These symptoms should be discussed with your doctor to avoid dangerous complications.

Detect atrial fibrillation | Photo: © visomat


How is the resting heart rate measured?

It is best to measure the resting heart rate in the morning immediately after waking up - before getting up - in order to be able to better compare the measured values. You can measure your heart rate manually or electronically with a heart rate monitor or a blood pressure monitor. When measuring the pulse, the number of pulses or beats per minute is usually given.

Often people have a stroke from atrial fibrillation without knowing it. The German Heart Foundation therefore advises regular measurement of the resting heart rate in order to be able to determine an abnormal heart rate at an early stage. The visomat double comfort blood pressure monitor can detect atrial fibrillation, one of the most dangerous cardiac arrhythmias.


Resting heart rate normal value tables

Average resting heart rate
babyapprox. 130 / min
childrenapprox. 83-100 / min
Teenagersapprox. 78-85 / min
Adultsapprox. 60-80 / min
senior citizensapprox. 80 / min

The resting heart rate is heavily dependent on numerous influences such as weather, time of day or coffee consumption. It is also influenced by personal factors such as gender, age, height and weight. Women usually have a slightly higher pulse than men. There is therefore no uniformly optimal pulse. Nevertheless, normal heart rate values ​​can be given in tables as an orientation aid according to categories:

Resting heart rate in children

fetusNewbornKindergarten childTeenagers
150-160 / min120-140 / minapprox. 100 / minapprox. 85 / min

A child's body goes through tremendous changes that affect the heart, among other things. Therefore, you should not judge children's pulse by the adult standard.

Resting heart rate in adults

Adultssenior citizensathletePregnant women
60-80 / min70-90 / min30-40 / minIncrease by 10-12 / min

The resting heart rate changes in the course of life. Most of the time, the arteries become narrower and more inflexible, which can lead to lower pulse waves and increased pulse rates.

Heart rate normal values ​​table for printing

With this practical table you always have the guide values ​​in view. Alternatively, you can download and print out the normal resting heart rate values ​​as a PDF.

Normal resting heart rate values ​​for all generations.


What to do if your heart rate is low

If bradycardia therapy is necessary, it depends on the cause.

  • If a drug is decisive, it should be omitted or replaced after consultation with a doctor.
  • Drug therapy to normalize the heart rhythm
  • Use of a pacemaker if drug therapy is not possible.

In general, a healthy lifestyle with many foods rich in vitamins and fiber helps to relieve and support the heart. Possible weight loss and not drinking, smoking or stress can also help.


How can you lower your resting heart rate?

Has your doctor determined that your heart rate is too high? If the cause is really a disease, then appropriate treatment should be given first. Your doctor can also advise you on how to adjust your living conditions accordingly.

Healthy adults can lower their heart rate by exercising regularly and increasing their fitness. Under medical supervision, this is also possible for patients with previous illnesses such as heart failure. Examples of healthy endurance training:

  • to jog
  • Nordic walking
  • hike
  • To go biking
  • swim
  • To dance

A look at your own diet or weight reduction can also be helpful in lowering your resting heart rate. Relieving stress helps in lowering the heart rate.

tip: Older people in particular should also do that Pulse pressure pay special attention.


What is the exercise pulse?

The heart rate increases with movement and activity. The so-called stress pulse is measured during training. Since the heart rate drops again quickly after exercise, measurements should be taken in the first 10 seconds after the end of exercise. Athletes often check their heart rate during exercise in order to achieve the optimal exercise heart rate.

The optimal training heart rate can be calculated using various formulas. It describes the heart rate range in which oxygen transport and fat burning are optimal. The pulse range depends on the desired goals and is determined as reliably as possible with the help of spiroergonomics, which also includes determining blood pressure. The optimal training pulse is then usually 50 to 75 percent of the maximum pulse - the fastest pulse rate that can be achieved under stress.

Regular endurance training keeps you fit, strengthens our cardiovascular system and allows the heart to pump more slowly and more forcefully. The resting heart rate of an athlete is usually between 32 and 45 beats / min. In addition, the heart rate of trained endurance athletes drops significantly faster after training - this is referred to as rapid regeneration. This recovery pulse shows how quickly the body recovers after exercise and how well-trained the heart and circulation are.

You can find further helpful information on the subject of the heart circle in our guide.