How to Find Your Resting Heart Rate

How to Find Your Resting Heart Rate -

For you to know your resting heart rate (RHR), you need to know how to find your RHR. And to find your RHR, you need to check your pulse because your pulse tells you what your heart rate is. Allow me to explain.

The human heart is an organ that pumps blood throughout the body via the circulatory system. It supplies oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes. The muscles of the heart relax to fill with blood and then squeeze (contract) to pump out the blood. This pumping action creates a pulse.

In essence, when you count your heart pulsations, you’re checking your heart rate.

Where to Check Your Pulse

You can measure your heart rate at any point on the body where an artery’s pulsation is close to the surface. However, the two most common areas are the radial artery and the carotid artery:

Radial artery: The underside of the wrist on the side of the thumb (as shown in the photo above)
Carotid artery: Located in the neck, lateral to the trachea (the hollow between the windpipe and the large muscle in the neck)
Though the radial and carotid arteries are the most common locations for detecting a pulse, the following will also provide a pulse location:

  • brachial artery (inner bend of the arm at the elbow)
  • femoral artery (front of the leg at the torso)
  • posterior tibial artery (inner ankle behind the ankle joint)
  • popliteal artery (inner bend of the leg at the knee)
  • abdominal aorta (center of the body at the stomach)

Best Time to Check Your Resting Heart Rate

You need to be at rest when you check your heart rate, hence the “resting” heart rate. Therefore, it is generally best to measure it in the morning, right after naturally waking up; that means waking up on your own without an alarm. And it’s best to plan, so have your measuring devices ready the night before.

If checking your heart rate in the morning is not an option, make sure you’re lying down and at rest for several minutes before measuring it.

Methods of Checking Your Resting Heart Rate

The first two methods are widespread, and the latter approach is becoming more common as technology advances:

  • Manual
    • Place the tips of your index and middle fingers over the artery, and lightly apply pressure. Don’t use your thumb because it has a pulse of its own. Also, don’t push too hard, as this may evoke a vagal response and slow down the heart rate.
    • Count the number of beats for 30 or 60 seconds, and then correct that score to beats per minute if necessary.
  • Manual (with a stethoscope)
    • Place the bell of the stethoscope to the left of the sternum just above or below the nipple line.
    • Count the number of beats for 30 or 60 seconds, and then correct that score to beats per minute if necessary.
  • Electronic – An activity tracker, also known as a fitness tracker, is a wearable device that monitors and records your fitness activity; it’ll do all the work for you.


Once you find out what your resting heart rate is, you’ll have a better idea of your level of health. You’ll know where you stand and if you need to make adjustments to your lifestyle.

If you’re unsure if your resting heart rate is in the range of where it should be, check out my post, The Importance of Having a Healthy Resting Heart Rate.

Nathaniel Branden, an accomplished psychotherapist, said, “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

Until next time, live sensible, be healthy.