Skip to Content

How To Check Your Pulse

Pulse rate is the number of times a person’s heart beats in one minute. Normal values for pulse rate depend on the person’s age and fitness level. A normal pulse rate for a fit and healthy adult, while resting, can range from 60 to 100 beats per minute (BPM), although athletes who are highly conditioned and fit may have a healthy pulse rate lower than 60 BPM.

Step 1
Turn your left hand palm-side up, then place the first two fingers of your right hand along the outer edge of your left wrist just below where your wrist and thumb meet.

Step 2
Slide your fingers toward the center of your wrist. You should feel the pulse between the wrist bone and the tendon.

Step 3
Press down with your fingers until you feel your pulse. Do not press too hard, or you will not be able to feel the pulsation. Feel free to move your fingers until the pulse is easiest to feel.

Step 4
Continue to feel your pulse for a full minute. When the clock’s second hand is on the 12 you can begin counting the pulse. Count your pulse for 60 seconds or 30 seconds and multiply by 2. (or for 15 seconds and then multiply by four to calculate beats per minute).


Sometimes the pulse is difficult to locate. Here are some tips that might help:

  • Try holding your arm pointing down toward the floor, if you have been holding it up toward your face.
  • Try using your fingertips to feel the pulse instead of laying your fingers across your wrist. Put your fingertips in different places, stopping for about five seconds in each position to try to feel the pulse before moving to another location. Lift, place, and feel; lift, place and feel, until you find a spot where you can feel the pulsations well.
  • Try varying the pressure of your fingertips on your wrist. You may need to lighten up or press a little harder to feel the pulse.
  • Try these steps on the other wrist or on another pulse point.