General Health

How Do You Lower Your Resting Heart Rate?

Heart rate is a measurement often used to help determine overall cardiovascular health. When using fitness trackers, heart rate monitoring also often forms part of the tracking functions available.

While a number will be frequently displayed, many people do not really know what it means. People need to understand what their heart rate means and ensure they can recognize a high heart rate, as well as a low heart rate. 

Heart rate refers to the number of times a person’s heartbeats in a 60 second period. Heart rate increases with physical activity and then come down when resting.

Many things can affect heart rate, including several serious diseases.

We look at what is normal when monitoring heart rate and share a few strategies to lower a person’s heart rate. 

How To Lower Your Heart Rate?

There are a few ways that people can achieve a low resting heart rate. However, it is essential first to consider why the person’s heart rate might be higher than what it should be. An elevated resting heart rate can sometimes be a sign of problems with the heart muscle or another part of the cardiovascular system. 

We are going to share a couple of strategies that have shown effective results in people who want to reduce their resting heart rate:

Reconsider Unhealthy Habits: 

Smoking is a habit for many people, yet it is exceptionally bad for the body. Smoking does not only affect the lungs. This habit harms the entire body – and can be the reason behind a high heart rate. People who smoke should consider quitting. When a person stops smoking, there is a good chance that they will notice an improvement in their resting heart rate. 

Stress Management: 

While stress is something we all have to cope with every day, some people do have more pressure than others. Those with a higher level of stress to deal with will often find their heart rate a bit too high. In these scenarios, especially with chronic stress, learning more about relaxation techniques should become an essential part of their lives. Meditation, for example, has been proven to help reduce levels of stress. The use of certain adaptogens may also help. These are natural compounds that assist in regulating how the body reacts to stress. 

Physical Exercise

Fitness is an often-overlooked factor that plays a role in heart rate, not just in blood pressure alone. People who are not physically active put themselves at risk of many health-related complications. The person’s likeliness of diabetes, heart disease, and many other complications increase over time. 

Physically active people tend to be healthier and complain less about pain, depression, and stress. Furthermore, researchers often find that the resting heart rate is significantly lower among athletes and active people than those leading a more sedentary life. 

Weight Reduction

Another critical strategy for reducing resting heart rate is to lose weight. This particular tip only applies to people who are overweight or obese. Start by considering BMI. This calculation provides an overview of the “Body Mass Index.” If a person has a BMI of 25 or higher, then losing some weight might be helpful. 

Excess fat in the body has many complications. The first step is to implement physical exercise, as previously noted. Losing weight is not just about exercise, however. It is also about what a person eats. A healthy diet that provides a balanced range of nutrition can help reduce weight and improve health at the same time. 

Resting Heart Rate And Health

Studies have been conducted to provide data on how a high resting heart rate truly affects health. The term refers to the number of beats a heart makes every minute – these beats are made to pump blood through the circulatory system. 

One long-term study looked at how resting heart rate could affect longevity. The study included data from over 29,000 individuals. The study was done over a 10-year period. By the end of the 10 years, data was collected and inspected by the team of researchers. 

It was found that there is a 90% increase in death among people with a heart rate that is over 85. This data was compared to people who had a maximum heart rate of 70. 

In addition, to understand the potential effect on longevity, it is important to know how this is connected. A fast heart rate is not a disease by itself. Instead, it is a symptom. Doctors can use the elevated heart rate as a way of identifying an underlying health issue. This may include cardiovascular disease, problems with the circulatory system, issues like diabetes, and more. 

Ideal Heart Rate

Various factors need to be taken into account when determining the ideal heart rate for a person. Some people are prone to having a higher heart rate, but this does not guarantee they have a medical condition. Still, it is important to have an idea of what an ideal heart rate is. 

Normal resting heart rate should usually be between 60 and 100. Some experts believe resting hr should ideally be below 90, however. When the pulse rate is over 100 beats per minute, particularly when the person is in a resting state, they should consider talking to their doctor. Higher resting heart rate can sign serious conditions, such as atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases. 

Some people may have a lower resting heart rate than what is considered normal for a healthy individual. This does not mean the person is in danger; it may simply be a sign that the person’s heart is working more efficiently and that they have a healthy blood circulatory system. One example would be athletes, where the heart rate variability sometimes goes as low as 40. 

Causes Of An Unhealthy Heart Rate

Many things can have an impact on a person’s heart rate. As noted previously, a low resting heart rate is often found among athletes. This is due to the physical fitness level, which helps to reduce problems like high blood pressure

When heart rate goes above 90, it is usually advised that a person start to consider why they have a higher beat per minute measurement. There is not a single factor or cause to look at. Instead, a person will need to take a closer look at their own life and situation. This will help the individual identify factors in their life contributing to the higher average resting heart rate. 

First, it is important to note that age is often linked to a higher heart rate. It has been found that as people age, their resting heart rate tends to increase. It still remains important for the aging population to constantly monitor their heart rate and try to keep it at a healthy rate. 

Apart from age, there are other factors to consider when looking at the causes of a high resting heart rate: 

  • People who smoke tend to have a higher resting heart rate compared to those who do not smoke. Smoking is known to reduce dilation in blood vessels, which means the heart has to work harder to get blood through the body. 

  • When a person has a high cholesterol problem, particularly in terms of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, they are also at risk of having an elevated heart rate. 

  • Heart disease, such as heart failure, can also be the reason why a person is experiencing a high resting heart rate. As the condition progresses, the resting heart rate of the person may further increase. 

  • Weight also affects heart rate. It is generally found that people who are obese have a significantly higher resting heart rate since the heart needs to cover a larger area when pumping blood through the body. 

  • Certain medications may also cause a person’s heart rate to become elevated. This may include the use of antidepressants, with a focus on SNRIs. Some tricyclic antidepressants may also have a similar impact on the body. Some types of decongestants, a medication used to treat thyroid disorders, and medication for asthmatic patients are also possible causes to look for. 

  • A patient diagnosed with diabetes is also likely to have a heart rate that is higher than what is considered normal. 

Stress is also known to affect heart rate and blood pressure. In fact, chronic stress can wreak havoc on the human body and make the heart rate surpass 90, or even 100. When stress causes a significant increase in the patient’s heart rate, it may even lead to a heart attack risk. 

Conclusion

Resting heart rate need to vary between 60 and 90 in most healthy adults. When the maximum heart rate surpasses 90, it means the person’s heart is beating too fast. This may be a sign of recent exercise or stress. In cases where resting heart rate increases too much, however, it is usually a sign of something else. In addition to learning how to lower resting heart rate, people should also understand when they should see a doctor

Sources

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. (2011) Increase in resting heart rate is a signal worth watching. [online] Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/increase-in-resting-heart-rate-is-a-signal-worth-watching-201112214013
  2. Psychiatry Investigation. (2018) Stress and Heart Rate Variability: A Meta-Analysis and Review of the Literature. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5900369/
  3. HHS Public Access. (2009) Psychological Stress and Cardiovascular Disease. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633295/

 

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