How to Calculate Average Heart Rate

Cyclist checking pulse

Your average heart rate is defined as the number of times your heart pumps blood through your body in one minute. This provides a starting point for evaluation of your workout program and allows you to reap maximum benefits from exercise. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average adult has a resting pulse of 60 to 100 beats per minute. Variations in this number may be the result of conditioning or an underlying cardiovascular condition. Determine your average heart rate to ensure you are getting the most out of your workout routine.

Sit down and rest for at least 10 minutes. This allows your heart to recede to its normal rate, as even light activity can increase your pulse and influence results. WebMD recommends taking your resting pulse soon after you wake up in the morning but before getting out of bed to avoid extraneous factors that may increase your pulse rate.

Place your stopwatch or timer in a location that is easily visible. If you wear a watch, remove it and place it flat on a table or counter so you can easily see the time.

Locate a strong pulse somewhere on your body. Turn your left wrist over, use two fingers from your right hand and place them on the thumb side of the left wrist. Another option is to place two fingers at the base of your lower neck, along your carotid artery. Either location produces a strong pulsing sensation if your fingers are properly positioned.

Count the number of times you feel a pulsing sensation underneath your fingers for at least 10 seconds, according to Cleveland Clinic. Multiply this number by six, resulting in your average heart rate per minute. WebMD suggests counting beats for 30 seconds and then multiplying that number times two. While there is no standard recommendation among experts, the longer you count the pulsing sensation, the more accurate your final calculation will be.

Repeat this process at various points throughout a day for a total of two to three days. Add up each of your recorded heart rates and divide that number by the number of times you recorded your pulse. This provides a more accurate picture of your average heart rate on a day-to-day basis.


Use a device that assists in taking your pulse to avoid doing so by hand. The number shown represents your average heart rate and avoids the need for calculation.


Be aware that some medications used for blood pressure control may decrease your resting pulse rate and influence your calculation.