To investigate the sex- and age-specific association between resting heart rate and hypertension in rural adult residents of Henan province. At baseline, a total of 20 194 participants were randomly selected from Xin’an County of Henan province between July 2007 and August 2008. After excluding participants with hypertension or without resting heart rate data at baseline, and participants died or without hypertension outcome or diagnosed as gestational hypertension during follow-up between July 2013 and October 2014, 10 212 participants were finally included in this study. Multiple linear regression model was used to examine the association between resting heart rate and change of blood pressure. Logistic regression model was used to estimate the association between resting heart rate and risk of hypertension. There were 2 059 new hypertensive cases (839 male) during the 6 years follow-up. After controlling for potential confounders, per 5 beats/minutes increases in resting heart rate was associated with 0.18 mmHg (1 mmHg=0.133 kPa) (95 0.01-0.36 mmHg, 0.046) absolute increase in systolic blood pressure and 7% higher risk of developing hypertension in women (95 1.03-1.11, 0.05). Compared with resting heart rate<70 beats/minutes, the adjusted for 76-82 and>82 beats/minutes groups were 1.39 (95 1.18-1.63, 0.05) and 1.22 (95 1.02-1.45, 0.05), respectively. For both age groups, increased resting heart rate was positively associated with risk of hypertension in women(=1.05(95% 1.01-1.10), <0.05 (the women those <60 years); =1.14(95% 1.04-1.25), <0.05 (the women those≥60 years). However, no significant association was found between resting heart rate and hypertension in male residents. Increased resting heart rate is associated with high risk of hypertension in women who live in rural area, especially in elder women of this cohort.