The normal pulse rate for an adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, according to Mayo Clinic. Lower heart rates suggest better heart function and stronger cardiovascular systems. Several factors affect heart rate, including air temperature, body position, emotions, body size and medications.
Some athletes have pulse rates as low as 40 beats per minute, explains Mayo Clinic. However, in many cases, pulse rates outside the norm are indications of health problems. Individuals should seek medical evaluation if their rates fall at either extreme. This is especially important if other symptoms are present, such as fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.