A resting heart rate can be a good indicator of health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. Athletes tend to have lower normal resting heart rates than non-athletes. Conversely, an unusually high resting heart rate may signify an increased risk of heart disease or another medical condition.

While the official stance on resting heart rate for adults indicates it should range from 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm), most healthy adults fall between 55 and 85 bpm. However, certain people may fall outside of this range and still be healthy. Penn Medicine says resting heart rate generally should not be too fast or too slow, or fluctuate very often. What qualifies as a healthy resting heart rate changes as one ages. In fact, heart rates for children are much different from adults.

  • Newborn babies: 100 to 205 bpm
  • Infants under 1 year: 100 to 180 bpm
  • 1 to 2 years: 98 to 140 bpm
  • 3 to 5 years: 80 to 120 bpm
  • 6 to 7 years: 75 to 118 bpm
  • Older children and teens: 60 to 100 bpm
  • Adults: 60 to 100 bpm

Men and women differ slightly in resting heart rate. The National Institutes of Health says the average adult male heart rate is between 70 and 72 bpm, while the average for adult women is between 78 and 82 bpm. This is often due to the fact that men have larger hearts than women, and occurs even after accounting for age and physical fitness. There are ways to lower resting heart rate. Exercise, quitting smoking, and relaxing to reduce stress and anxiety can promote a low resting heart rate.