How to check your heart rate

diagram showing where to take heart rate

It is important to exercise at a safe and effective training level. 

Check your heart rate.

  • Find your pulse on your wrist.
  • Put two fingers on the inside of your wrist just below your thumb.
  • Press lightly until you feel your pulse.
  • Count the heartbeats for 10 seconds. Multiply the heartbeats by six.
  • If your pulse is irregular or skips beats, count the beats for a full 60 seconds.
  • The average resting rate is between 60 to 100 beats each minute.
  • If your rate is higher than average, slow down and don't exercise so hard.
Target heart rate, maximum target training zones
Approximate maximum heart rate Maximum target training zones (beats per minute)
Age Heart rate 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85%
20 200 120 130 140 150 160 170
25 195 117 127 137 146 156 166
30 190 114 124 133 143 152 162
35 185 111 120 130 139 148 157
40 180 108 117 126 135 144 153
45 175 105 114 123 131 140 149
50 170 102 111 119 128 136 145
55 165 99 107 116 124 132 140
60 160 96 104 112 120 128 136
65 155 93 101 109 116 124 132
70 150 90 98 105 113 120 128
75 145 87 94 102 109 116 123
80 140 84 91 98 105 112 119

Related resources

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes, sixth edition
First Published: 11/27/2006
Last Reviewed: 01/09/2015