Your resting pulse rate is one of three vital signs, along with your blood pressure and respiratory rate, that provide a snapshot of your overall health. Your pulse rate is lower when you’re resting calmly and goes up when you exercise and your heart works harder to provide oxygen-rich blood to vital organs. Older women have the same normal resting pulse range as their younger counterparts, according to Medline Plus.
You can measure your own pulse rate by placing two fingers over any artery that runs close to the surface of your skin, notes Medline Plus. Typically, that means the radial artery on the inside of each wrist or the carotid artery on either side of your throat. Your doctor may also listen to your heart beat in your chest to measure your apical pulse.
Measuring Your Pulse
You can determine your pulse rate by counting the number of times an artery pulsates over a 60-second period, or you can count the beats for 30 seconds and multiply by two.
While your pulse rate may vary a bit as you age, those differences are not significant, according to Topend Sports. An 18-year-old woman in above-average physical condition, for example, typically has a normal pulse rate between 66 and 69 beats per minute. This range changes only 1 to 2 beats a minute over the years, and returns to the 66 to 69 beat baseline for women 65 years or older in above-average condition.
Older women have slightly faster pulse rates than men of the same age group. A 72-year-old woman in good physical condition typically has a pulse between 65 and 68 beats a minute, while a same-age man in the same fitness category will run between 62 and 65 beats, according to Topend Sports.
Fitness level, on the other hand, has a major influence on the normal resting pulse rate for older women. A 70-year-old woman in poor physical condition might have a heart rate of 84 or more beats a minute, while her same-age friend in good condition will run between 65 and 68 beats. A 70-year-old well-conditioned athletic woman can expect a resting pulse rate between 54 and 59.
Other factors such as medical issues, emotional state, body size and medication use can influence pulse rates for older women, says Dr. Edward R. Laskowski, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Mayo Clinic.
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