Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute.
When you feel your pulse, count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats a minute.
Keep in mind that many factors can influence heart rate, including:
- Activity level
- Fitness level
- Air temperature
- Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
- Body size
Although there’s a wide range of normal, an unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute (tachycardia) or if you’re not a trained athlete and your resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute (bradycardia) — especially if you have other signs or symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.