The normal pulse rate for an adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Emotions, injury, illness and exercise can all cause an elevation in pulse rate. Athletes and others who exercise and undergo cardiovascular conditioning sometimes have heart rates around 40 beats per minute.
Girls ages 12 and under usually have faster heart rates than their male counterparts, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. The pulse rate is the number of times the heart beats per minute. It is measured by pressing on an artery on the wrist or the side of the neck and counting the number of times the artery pulses within 60 seconds.