What is your pulse?

Your pulse is your heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Pulse rates vary from person to person. Your pulse is lower when you are at rest and increases when you exercise (more oxygen-rich blood is needed by the body when you exercise). Knowing how to take your pulse can help you evaluate your exercise program.

How to take your pulse

Check your Pulse

  1. Place the tips of your index, second and third fingers on the palm side of your other wrist below the base of the thumb. Or, place the tips of your index and second fingers on your lower neck on either side of your windpipe.
  2. Press lightly with your fingers until you feel the blood pulsing beneath your fingers. You may need to move your fingers around slightly up or down until you feel the pulsing.
  3. Use a watch with a second hand, or look at a clock with a second hand.
  4. Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six to get your heart rate (pulse) per minute.

Count your pulse: _____ beats in 10 seconds x 6 = _____ beats/minute

What is a normal pulse?

Normal Heart Rates at Rest:

  • Children (ages 6 - 15) 70 – 100 beats per minute
  • Adults (age 18 and over) 60 – 100 beats per minute