Heart rate: the rate in children and adults by age, table

Heart rate (HR) is the most important physiological parameter that displays not only the cardiovascular system but also the state of the whole organism. The value of the heart rate depends on many factors: age, physical fitness, emotional man, of the presence in his body of pathological processes affecting the functioning of the heart, etc. In this article we will focus on what should be the heart rate in people of different ages.

The accepted normal heart rate is considered 60 – 90 beats per minute. However, to use these values when evaluating results of measuring heart rate in people all ages it is impossible because each age has its own physiological peculiarities of regulation of cardiac activity and the relevant standards of heart rate.

Physiological characteristics and heart rate

During each heartbeat the blood stream ejected portion of blood which carries to organs and tissues oxygen and nutrients. When a person moves, is engaged in physical labor, nervous, body needs a nutritious substrate to grow, so the heart has to beat faster and pump in one minute more blood. Young children have excessive mobility and add more active growth, so their heart rate is always higher than in adults. In newborns, it is still difficult – their heart simply does not have time for 60 – 90 cuts to ensure the energy needs of organs and tissues, from which heart is forced to beat more often (two times if to compare with older people).

In addition, a great influence on the frequency of heartbeats having the status of the heart muscle. Heart with a healthy and well-trained myocardium in a single cut may push a greater volume of blood than a body with a weak muscle, so a strong heart requires fewer reductions to provide the body with oxygen and nutrition. In this regard, in athletes involved in running, swimming and other aerobic sports activities, the decrease in heart rate to 40-50 beats per minute is not considered as a pathology (of course, if there are no other pathological symptoms).

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Conversely, if a person has cardiac problems, especially myocardial ischemia, the heart begins to beat weaker and more likely. Therefore it is regular that in older people, often suffering from atherosclerosis and other diseases that impair the provision of a myocardium in oxygen, a slight tachycardia (increase heart rate).

Standards of heart rate in adult

In the normal healthy adult heart beats 60 – 90 times per minute. Optimal for proper flow of all physiological processes and well-being frequency of contractions of the myocardium is 70 – 80 per minute. These figures worthwhile endeavor.

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However, there are a few «buts». For young people it is undesirable that the heart rate was constantly at the upper limit of normal, ie closer to 90 beats per minute (it was stated above that physically developed children the heart can and should be reduced less often). The doctor may interpret this indicator as a sign of pathology and refer the patient to a more in depth examination.

For older people the frequency of the beating of the heart 80 – 90 beats per minute, on the contrary, is recommended. Increasing the rate to 100 beats per minute is considered as an acceptable deviation from the norm. In addition, older age is considered a formidable sign of decrease in the heart rate to 50-60 beats per minute. This occurs during the development of heart block.

Standards of heart rate in children

The normal frequency of contractions of the myocardium in children is quite variable. This is more clearly shown in the graph:

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The age of the child

The norm for ages (in beats per minute)


140 – 160

six-month-old children

130 – 150

1 year

120 – 130

3 years

100 – 110

5 years

90 – 100

7 years

90 – 95

12 years

80 – 90


70 – 80

These figures are only approximate, so deviation from them in larger or smaller should not immediately be regarded as a pathology. Any conclusions should be done only by a doctor, considering other physiological parameters, as well as data additional laboratory and instrumental research.

How to correctly measure your heart rate?

There are several ways to measure heart rate:

  • By using palpation.
  • With the help of auscultation.
  • By ECG or Echocardiography.
  • With the help of modern automatic and semi-automatic sphygmomanometers (devices for determining blood pressure levels).

The most simple and affordable method of determining heart rate is to count the pulse rate by palpation of major arteries (carotid or radial). Normal pulse rate and heart rate should be the same. Prior to measuring heart rate it is advisable not to be nervous, not to engage in physical activities (if any, recommended 10 – 15 minutes to rest), not to change dramatically the position of the body (dramatically up and down). When counting the heart rate in young children, the child must provide the most comfortable conditions, so he did not cry, he must not be cold or hot (this may affect the studied parameter).

Causes of heart rate changes

In children the most common causes of heart rate changes are as follows:

  • Fever.
  • Dehydration.
  • Anemia.
  • Dysfunction of the thyroid gland.
  • Heart disease.
  • Autonomic disorders.
  • Some infectious diseases.
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In adults the frequency of heartbeats can vary under the above conditions, and various cardiac diseases (myocarditis, myocardial ischemia, arrhythmias, hypertension, etc.), as well as the abuse of strong coffee (especially soluble) and alcohol. If you find any abnormalities in the heart rate should consult their physician or cardiologist.