How to Manually Check Your Heart Rate

A normal resting heart rate for most adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Conditioned athletes typically have resting heart rates closer to 60 beats per minute. If your resting heart rate is greater than 100 beats per minute -- or less than 60 and you are not an athlete -- visit your doctor, who can diagnose any underlying condition you might have. You can purchase a heart rate wrist monitor to check your heart rate while you're at rest or exercising, but manually checking your heart rate can give you accurate numbers as well.

A young man who's a runner stops and checks his own pulse. (Image: DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Find your pulse by placing a finger or two on the inside of your wrist or on the carotid artery on either side of your neck toward your windpipe.

Step 2

Press firmly so you can feel your pulse but not so forcefully that you interfere with the rhythm of the pulse.

Step 3

Count the number of beats you feel for 10 seconds and multiply this number by 6 to determine your heart rate.


  • Never check both carotid arteries at the same time, as you can restrict the blood flow to your brain and lose consciousness.
  • Never check your pulse with your thumb, as the pulse inside the thumb can interfere with your reading.


  • To determine your resting heart rate, sit quietly while you count your pulse, preferably in the morning, just after you've awakened. For accurate results, do not take your resting heart rate reading during or after physical activity.
  • Many factors can influence heart rate, including air temperature, body position and your emotions. Check your heart rate several times a day to make sure your numbers are accurate and then average those numbers.
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