What’s A Good Resting Heart Rate? Average Resting HR By Age And Sex

Keep reading to see how your resting heart rate stacks up to the healthy averages.

Although most people who wear heart rate monitors and smartwatches focus on their target heart rate zones during physical activity, monitoring your resting heart rate can also be beneficial.

As the term describes, resting heart rate refers to the rate at which your heart beats at rest, measured in the number of times your heart beats in a minute.

Your resting heart rate should be the lowest heart rate that you experience in a day, as any physical activity or movement will increase the muscles’ need for oxygen. But what’s a good resting heart rate?

According to the American Heart Association, adults’ normal resting heart rate is typically between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

In this guide, we will discuss a good resting heart rate by age and sex and why your resting heart rate matters.

Let’s get started!

A heart drawn on a chalkboard.

What’s A Good Resting Heart Rate? Average Resting HR By Age and Sex

According to the American Heart Association, the normal resting heart rate for adults is typically between 60 and 100 beats per minute, although it tends to be lower in fit individuals and trained athletes due to physiological adaptations from consistent training.1American Heart Association. (2015, July 31). All about Heart Rate (pulse). American Heart Association; American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/all-about-heart-rate-pulse

‌Average resting heart rate also decreases with age, highest in infancy and then childhood and decreasing continuously throughout the adult lifespan.

According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are the average resting heart rate ranges by age and sex:2Ostchega, Y., Porter, K., Hughes, J., Charles, M., Dillon, F., & Nwankwo, T. (2011). Resting Pulse Rate Reference Data for Children, Adolescents, and Adults: United States, 1999-2008. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr041.pdf

Average Resting Heart Rate By Age for Men

Age GroupAthleteExcellentGoodAveragePoor
Age 18-2549-55 bpm56-61 bpm61-65 bpm70-73 bpmOver 82 bpm
Age 26-3549-54 bpm55-61 bpm62-65 bpm71-74 bpmOver 82 bpm
Age 36-4550-56 bpm57-62 bpm63-66 bpm71-75 bpmOver 83 bpm
Age 46-5550-57 bpm58-63 bpm64-67 bpm72-7 bpmOver 84 bpm
Age 56-6551-56 bpm57-61 bpm62-67 bpm72-75 bpmOver 82 bpm
Over Age 6550-55 bpm56-61 bpm62-65 bpm70-73 bpmOver 80 bpm
A finger heart rate monitor reading 96.

Average Resting Heart Rate By Age for Women

Age GroupAthleteExcellentGoodAveragePoor
Age 18-2554-60 bpm61-65 bpm66-69 bpm74-78 bpmOver 85 bpm
Age 26-3554-59 bpm60-64 bpm65-68 bpm73-76 bpmOver 83 bpm
Age 36-4554-59 bpm60-64 bpm65-69 bpm74-78 bpmOver 85 bpm
Age 46-5554-60 bpm61-65 bpm66-69 bpm74-77 bpmOver 84 bpm
Age 56-6554-59 bpm60-64 bpm65-68 bpm74-77 bpmOver 84 bpm
Over Age 6554-59 bpm60-64 bpm65-68 bpm73-76 bpmOver 84 bpm

Again, pulling from the data from the CDC, these are the normal ranges and average resting heart rates for newborns, toddlers, and children. 

AgeNormal Range for Resting Heart Rate
Newborn to 1 month 70-190 bpm
1 to 11 months80-160 bpm (average 128 bpm for boys, 130 bpm for girls)
Age 1-280-130 bpm (average 116 bpm for boys, 119 bpm for girls)
Age 3-480-120 bpm (average 100 bpm for boys, 99 bpm for girls)
Age 5-675-114 bpm (average 96 bpm for boys, 94 bpm for girls)
Age 7-970-110 bpm (average 87 bpm for boys, 86 bpm for girls)
Age 10-1560-100 bpm (average 78 bpm for boys, 83 bpm for girls)

Your average resting heart rate can give you an indication of your physical fitness level and overall health.

If you track changes in your average resting heart rate over time, you can get a window into how your body is responding to stress, such as exercise and general life stress, and whether you are overtraining or successfully improving your aerobic fitness.

A heart rate watch reading of 81.

Why Does Resting Heart Rate Matter?

Generally speaking, having a lower resting heart rate is associated with improved health and function.

Research suggests that a higher resting heart rate is associated with an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, heart conditions, and all-cause mortality.3Nauman, J., Janszky, I., Vatten, L. J., & Wisløff, U. (2011). Temporal Changes in Resting Heart Rate and Deaths From Ischemic Heart Disease. JAMA306(23), 2579–2587. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2011.1826

A lower resting heart rate is usually better than a higher resting heart rate because it indicates better cardiovascular efficiency and health conditions.

Remember, the heart must meet the oxygen needs of all the different cells, tissues, and organs in the body. This oxygen is delivered through the blood via the circulatory system.

Cardiac output refers to the amount of blood pumped throughout the body by the heart per minute.

The heart has to pump a certain amount of blood depending on the needs of your tissues, and this is accomplished by beating a certain number of times per minute and ejecting a certain amount of blood out of the ventricles of the heart with each beat. 

A heart rate watch reading of 85.

If your heart muscle is stronger, it can pump a greater volume of blood with each beat, reducing the requisite number of beats per minute to satisfy the cells’ need for oxygen.

The fitter you are, the more efficient your heart gets at having these stronger contractions, which increases your stroke volume.

As a result, your heart rate can decrease at the same levels of activity that previously required a higher heartbeat.

Other additional favorable cardiovascular adaptations occur from regular exercise, including:

  • Increase in blood plasma volume (which means you have more blood for a higher stroke volume)
  • Greater elasticity of your blood vessels to handle more blood volume without increasing blood pressure
  • Larger chamber size, enabling more blood to be pumped without increasing the ejection fraction (the percentage of blood ejected out of the chambers of the heart with each beat)

Additionally, with aerobic training and improved cardiovascular health, your muscles become more efficient at extracting oxygen from the blood and using it to generate the energy they need for physical activity.

A person looks at their sport watch.

Your body becomes more economical with oxygen, reducing the demand and the necessary cardiac output.

All of these adaptations together decrease your resting heart rate (as well as your heart rate during submaximal exercise) and are demonstrative of better cardiovascular health, performance and wellness.

For these reasons, a lower resting heart rate indicates that your heart does not have to work as hard to meet your body’s needs. The less stress and strain on your heart, the lower the risk of adverse cardiovascular events.

If you habitually track your average resting heart rate with a wearable such as a chest or arm heart rate monitor, you should notice that it trends downward as you get in better shape through consistent exercise training. 

Another benefit of measuring your resting heart rate is that daily fluctuations can give you insight into certain parameters in your life.

Many factors can affect your average resting heart rate, including age, fitness level, body position, temperature, medications, and stress level.

A person compares their heart rate of 75 to what's a good resting heart rate for their age on their cell phone.

Whether considering physical stress from high-intensity or long-duration exercise or other forms of psychosocial stress, if you notice an uptick in your normal average resting heart rate, it is indicative that your body is not fully recovered and your heart is having to work harder to meet their oxygen needs in your body. 

Your resting heart rate can also increase if you are getting sick or fighting off an illness, as this is yet another form of stress for the body.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) or under 60 beats per minute as an inactive person (bradycardia), you will want to see a healthcare professional to check your resting heart rate and heart health to ensure there are no underlying issues.

This is even more important if you feel additional symptoms, such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or chest pain.

If you are an athlete and would like to know your maximum heart rate to calculate your training zones, check out our maximum heart rate guide:

References

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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