What Is a Normal Pulse Rate for a Woman?

Overview

Your pulse rate, also known as your heart rate, is a number that tells you how many times your heart beats in one minute. Your heart rate is lower when you’re at rest. It will increase with exercise because your heart works harder to send more oxygen to your muscles, lungs and organs, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While normal heart rates vary with age, women generally have a higher heart rate than men.

Pulse Sites

You can accurately measure your pulse rate at any point where one of your arteries runs close to the skin surface, according to MedlinePlus. For example, press two fingers over the radial artery on the inside of your wrist and feel it pulsate. Count your pulse by palpating the femoral pulse in your groin, the popliteal pulse behind your knee or the carotid pulse on either side of the front of your neck. If your doctor thinks you might have a heart problem, she’ll place a stethoscope over your heart so she can listen to your apical pulse.

Identification

Count the number of times the artery you’ve chosen throbs under your two fingers in one minute to determine your pulse rate, according to MedlinePlus. Another option is to count the beats for 30 seconds. Multiply the number by two.

Timing

You’ll get the most accurate reading of your resting pulse if you take it in the morning before you get out of bed, according to Montana State University. When that’s not practical, pick a time of day that’s at least two hours after a meal and four hours after vigorous work or exercise. Before you start counting, rest for at least 30 minutes. Sit or lie down while checking your pulse rate.

Age

While normal values for your pulse rate will change a little as you get older, the differences are subtle. For example, if you’re in below average physical condition, your pulse will range between 79 to 84 beats a minute from age 18 to 25, and change to a norm of 77 to 82 for the next nine years, according to TopendSports.com.

Fitness Level

Use a resting heart rate table to identify your normal pulse ranges (see Resources). Such tables take your physical fitness level into consideration. For example, at age 40, your heart rate can be 85 or more beats a minute if you’re in poor physical condition, according to TopendSports.com. If you exercise regularly and reach an above-average fitness level, you can expect a resting heart rate between 70 and 73. If you are a well-conditioned athlete, your pulse likely is between 54 and 59.

About this Author

Sandy Keefe, M.S.N., R.N., has been a freelance writer for over five years. Her articles have appeared in numerous health-related magazines, including “Advance for Nurses” and “Advance for Long-Term Care Management.” She has written short stories in anthologies such as “A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Special Needs.”