Understanding the Basics of Heart Rate in Adults & Elderly


Knowing your regular heart rate can be important in keeping track of your health, especially as you age. This article provides an overview of the average adult and elderly rate and how they are measured, along with factors that can affect them.

The tenth cranial nerve, known as the vagus nerve, is responsible for controlling heart rate. This nerve is located in the medulla oblongata, which is part of the brain stem. When vagal tone increases, it inhibits the heart’s pacemaker, known as the sinus node, resulting in a decrease in heart rate. The brain stem and central autonomic network work closely together, with the prefrontal cortex playing a key role in this communication.

What Is Heart Rate?

There are many factors that can affect it in adults and elderly, such as age, activity level, environmental temperature, emotions, medications, posture and stress. Age is an important factor that affects it, the older a person gets, the slower it is likely to be. Activity level can also increase heart rates; people who are more active tend to have higher resting heart rates than those who are less active. Additionally, environmental temperature can influence adult and elderly rates.

How to Measure It Properly

Accurately measuring your heart rate is important in order to determine if it’s within the normal range. You can do this with a monitoring device or by feeling your pulse in your wrist. To feel your pulse, you must put two fingers between the bone and tendon over your radial artery––this is located on the thumb side of your wrist; then, count the number of beats you feel in 10 seconds. Multiply this number by 6 to get your heart rate per minute. However, keep in mind that if you are taking medications or have irregular heartbeat, it may be necessary to use an ECG machine to measure it accurately.

Interpreting Your Heart Rate Readings

The readings allow you to evaluate the overall health of your heart. Generally, a lower it is associated with better cardiovascular fitness and improved general health while a higher resting heart rate indicates decreased fitness levels. If your reading is below or above the normal range, it’s important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine the cause and what steps you can take to get back in shape.

Understanding the Role of Age and Gender

Age and gender are two of the most influential factors when it comes to determining a person’s heart rate. Generally, younger people typically have lower heart rates than older individuals because as we age, our hearts gradually become less efficient at pumping blood around the body. Additionally, women tend to have lower resting heart rates than men due to differences in body composition and muscle mass. Knowing your age and gender can help you better understand what your resting heart rate should be.