Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Taking a Pulse (Heart Rate)
Your pulse is the rate at which your heart beats. As your
heart pumps blood through your body, you can feel a pulsing in some of the
blood vessels close to the skin's surface.
The usual resting
pulse for an adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Certain illnesses can cause
your pulse to change, so it is helpful to know what your resting pulse is when
you are well. To find your resting pulse, count your pulse after you have been
sitting or resting quietly for at least 5 minutes.
You can easily
check your pulse on the inside of your wrist, below your thumb.
You can also check your pulse in the carotid
artery. This is located in your neck, on either side of your windpipe. Be
careful when checking your pulse in this location, especially if you are older
than 65. If you press too hard, you may become lightheaded and fall.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as ofFebruary 19, 2016
Current as of:
February 19, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.