The resting pulse rate, or heart rate, for healthy individuals changes throughout a person's life. A child's normal heart rate on average is much higher than that of young adults, adults and the elderly. Typically, average heart rates decrease as a person ages. The most dramatic changes occur in the early stages of a person's development. Females, regardless of what stage of physical development they are in, tend to have higher pulse rates than males on average.
Dictionary.com defines a person's heart rate as, "The number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually expressed as beats per minute." Electronic heart rate monitors are used in hospitals and provide the most accurate readings of a person's heart rate, but other traditional methods can be used to determine a heart rate. A person's pulse can be measured by applying the index and middle fingers to certain parts of a person's body such as the wrist, the anterior side of the neck, the front of the elbow and the top of the foot.
The resting heart rates in children, especially newborns and toddlers, is usually much higher than adults. The resting heart rates of newborns can average between 110 and 160 beats per minute, which is almost twice the rate of an elderly person. A 2-year-old can have an average heart rate in the range of 80 to 110 beats per minute. For a normally developing 4-year-old, the resting heart rate can average anywhere between 90 and 110 beats per minute.
Certain conditions are known to affect heart rate. Gender affects heart rates with females tending to have higher heart rates in every age group. Age undoubtedly affects heart rates. The older a person is, the lower his average heart rate. Activity is an obvious factor affecting heart rates. Heart rate will increase with activity and lower with inactivity. Emotions such as anxiety and anger can raise heart rates. Also, heat can bring about raised heart rates.
Low Heart Rate
Weak pulse strength and irregular heartbeats can put a person's health at risk. Individuals should seek medical attention if they notice any symptoms. Bradycardia involves heart rates that are below 60 beats per minute in otherwise healthy individuals. Slow pulse rates can be signs of arrhythmia.
High Heart Rate
Heart rates that are higher than normal can put a person in a situation where they are more likely to suffer a heart attack. Tachycardia is a condition wherein a healthy person's average resting heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute. High pulse rates can also be signs of arrhythmia.