Everyday Math

Math, Numbers, and the Body

How does one calculate resting heart rate?

Calculating resting heart rate (RHR) involves easy math. It is the number of heart beats per minute when the body is resting, with the beats per minute representing the number of times the heart contracts. To measure the RHR, just count the number of beats per minute via the pulse—usually taken either on the inside of the wrist or along either side of the neck—for 15 seconds. Then multiply this number by four (15 × 4 = 60 seconds) to get the heart rate per minute. Or count for 10 seconds, then multiply this number times six (6 × 10 = 60 seconds) to get the heart rate per minute. For example, if you count 12 beats in 10 seconds, multiply 12 by 6 to get a resting heart rate of 72.


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