Your resting heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are at rest, is more than just a number. It is also a measure of your health. Technically, anything between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal. However, that’s not the only thing you need to know. LOW RESTING HEART RATES A resting heart rate in the lower end of the normal range (60 to 70 beats per minute) is usually an indicator of good health. Some very athletic people even have heart rates between 50 and 60, or in rare cases, even lower. A low resting heart rate is a good sign because it means your heart is beating strongly and doing a great job of pumping blood throughout the body. It is working so efficiently that it can get away with beating more slowly than other hearts do. VERY LOW RESTING HEART RATES Although lower resting heart rates are generally better, a resting heart rate below 60 beats per minute in someone who is not extremely athletic is a cause for concern. Usually, a heart rate this low cannot pump blood adequately. For this reason, a heart rate below 60 is often diagnosed as sinus bradycardia. People with this diagnosis may have symptoms like dizziness or fatigue, as their organs are not receiving enough oxygenated blood to function well. HIGH RESTING HEART RATES A resting heart rate in the higher end of the normal range (80 to 100 beats per minute) is not necessarily a bad thing, but it might mean that you’re not very physically fit. If this is the case, your heart is less strong and efficient, so it has to beat faster in order to maintain adequate circulation. On the other hand, sometimes high heart rates can be caused by anxiety and stress. Also, there are certain medications that have a side effect of increased heart rate. VERY HIGH RESTING HEART RATES A resting heart rate above 100 beats per minute is usually not a good sign. Sometimes this can be caused by things like fear, panic, dehydration, or low blood pressure. However, it may also be a sign of sinus tachycardia, or an abnormally fast heartbeat. This is a problem because hearts that beat too quickly don’t do a good job of circulating blood. Symptoms like shortness of breath and fainting may also be present. In general, it is safe to say that anyone with a heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute is healthy. It is also true that lower heart rates are usually a sign of good health. However, if you notice that your resting heart rate is frequently too high or too low, or if you notice any unusual symptoms such as lightheadedness, see a medical professional right away.