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What Does It Mean To Have A Healthy Heart Rate? Expert Answers

Your heart rate can be different at rest and during an activity. Here’s what the doctor has to say about normal heart rate.

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: May 07, 2023 10:00 IST
What Does It Mean To Have A Healthy Heart Rate? Expert Answers

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The heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in a minute. At every beat, your heart pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood around the body. Interestingly, your heart rate can increase due to several factors including running, exercising, and being surprised or frightened, which is why a normal heart rate can be different at rest or otherwise. Speaking with the OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Dr Ashima Bhelotkar, CTVS Surgeon, Fortis Anandapur, Kolkata, sheds light on what normal heart rate means. 

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How To Tell If Your Heart Rate Is Normal?

Dr Bhelotkar says, “The resting heart rate is the heart rate of a person when they are at rest. It serves as a reflection of a person's overall health.”

According to the doctor, the resting heart rate for a healthy adult may range between 60-100 beats per minute (bpm) and can vary from person to person depending on their age and health. In general, a lower resting heart rate indicates more efficient cardiac function and greater cardiovascular fitness, explains the doctor citing an example of a well-trained athlete who can have a resting heart rate much lower than 60 bpm and closer to 40 bpm.

What Is A Normal Range Of Heart Rate While Exercising?

The exercising heart rate is commonly given as a percentage between 50%-85% of the maximum heart rate (i.e. 220), said Dr Bhelotkar. 

He added, “The normal range of heart rate while exercising can be determined by subtracting a person's age from the maximum heart rate. For example, a 50-year-old will have a maximum heart rate of 220 minus 50, i.e. 170 beats per minute. At 50% effort, the heart rate would be 50% of the maximum or 85 beats per minute. It would be 145 beats per minute at 85% exertion.” 

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Is A Normal Heart Rate Reading Different In Older Adults?

According to Dr Bhelotkar, older people may have a heartbeat that is too fast or too slow. “Generally, as people age, their heart rate tends to decrease. For individuals aged 60 years or older, a resting heart rate between 60-100 beats per minute is considered normal,” he said.

It is important to note that physical activities and exercise can increase the heart rate. Although normal heart rates vary, an unusually high or low heart rate may indicate that there is a deeper issue, says Dr Bhelotkar. Consult a doctor if your resting heart rate is often above 100 beats per minute, which could be an incidence of tachycardia, or less than 60 beats per minute, which could mean bradycardia, especially if you experience other symptoms like fainting, dizziness, or shortness of breath, warns the doctor. 


It is essential to monitor your resting heart rate as it can tell you a lot about your overall health. If you have a raised resting heart rate, it could mean that your heart isn't functioning properly. In addition, it can also help you understand your fitness levels and your emotional state. Make sure to visit a cardiologist if you feel anything out of the ordinary in your heart rate.