How To Lower Your Heart Rate
Find out why your resting heart rate is so high in the first place, says Dr. John Elefteriades, who directs the Aortic Institute at Yale University. Someone struggling with heart or lung problems, for example, will have an elevated pulse that needs to be corrected immediately with medicine. But even with no serious health problems, lowering the number of times your heart beats in a minute can decrease its burden. Once you determine your resting heart rate by making several measurements count the beats for 30 seconds, then double that number start exercising regularly for a long period of time. If youre a couch potato, your pulse rate might go up just by doing normal activities, Elefteriades says.
For someone who is not inclined toward exercise, just walking is great, he says. Walk one to two miles, five times a week, or bike three times as far as you would walk or run. In addition to reducing your resting heart rate, such exercise will improve the efficiency with which your heart pumps blood to various bodily tissues. But dont overdo the workouts. Endurance athletes use lowering heart rates as a badge of honor, which is not necessarily a good thing, Elefteriades says, adding that the heart wasnt made to operate for much more than one hour in a high aerobic state.
What Is Your Pulse
When your heart beats it pushes blood around your body. This heart beat can be felt as your ‘pulse’ on your wrist or neck.;
Your pulse is measured by counting the number of times your heart beats in one minute. For example, if your heart contracts 72 times in one minute, your pulse would be 72 beats per minute . This is also called your heart rate.;
A normal pulse beats in a steady, regular rhythm. However, in some people this rhythm is uneven, or ‘jumps about’. This is known as an irregular pulse.
How To Lower Your Heart Rate In The Moment
If your heart rate has seemingly spiked without cause, there are a few things you can do to bring it back down to a normal level:
- Make sure your surroundings are cool and comfortable. High temperatures and humidity can increase blood flow and heart rate.
- Emotional upset can raise your heart rate. Slow, measured breathing can help bring it back down.
- If youre going from sitting to standing, make sure to rise slowly. Standing up too quickly can bring about dizziness and cause your heart rate to increase.
Other approaches can be effective in lowering your heart rate in the short term and over time.
Practicing mindfulness can help lower your heart rate in the moment, as well as lower your overall resting heart rate. After a 12-week mindfulness course, participants in one study had lower heart rates overall and were able to physically cover more distance during a standard six-minute walk test.
If youre familiar with yoga, practicing a few poses may also help lower your heart rate. Research also suggests that practitioners of yoga can develop the ability to voluntarily lower their heart rate.
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How To Lower Your Heart Rate Over Time
In the long term, the best way to lower your heart rate is by following a program that includes exercise, a healthy diet, limited caffeine and alcohol, and good sleep, suggests Johnson. The exercise component can involve either extended low-intensity sessions or interval training that mixes high- and low-effort episodes, she says.
Target Heart Rate For Different Exercises
For an effective cardio workout, it is important to exercise at a certain level of intensity. Your target heart rate is a zone at which you can attain the level of exertion necessary for improving your cardiovascular fitness. Depending on your age, sex, level of fitness, the target heart rate zone will vary from 50 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. Here is the breakdown for understanding heart rate zones:
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Perform The Valsalva Maneuver
The Valsalva maneuver is;a;breathing technique that leads to;several rapid changes in;our heart rate.
- Pinch your nose closed with the fingers of;one hand;
- Close your mouth
- Exhale, as;if;you are inflating a;balloon;
- Bear down, as;if;you are having a;bowel movement;
- Do;this technique for about 1015;seconds.
How To Lower Heart Rate
If your heart rate is too high there are ways to lower it safely. Your heart rate could be high after exercising or because youre feeling stressed or anxious.;
Here are some fast-acting methods that can help lower a fast heart rate:
- Breathing exercises: You can use your breathing to raise the aortic pressure in your heart, which will lower your heart rate. To do this, close your mouth and nose and raise the pressure in your chest. Breathe in for five to eight seconds, hold it for three to five seconds, and then exhale slowly. This can be repeated several times.;
- Taking a bath: This can help relax you and bring your heart rate down.;
- Light yoga: Calming yoga or meditation can help relax you and bring a high heart rate down.
- Moving to a cooler location: If your heart rate is raised because youre too hot, moving to a cooler location will help bring it down.;
Here are some long-term solutions that can help you achieve a healthy heart rate:;
- Exercising regularly: Starting and keeping an exercise program will help decrease resting heart rates over time.
- Eating healthy:Healthy diets that contain whole grains, leafy greens, fruits, and omega-3 fatty acids are great for supporting long term heart health and will help keep heart disease at bay.
- Quitting smoking:Non-smokers have a lowered risk of recurrent heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
- Staying hydrated:Drinking enough water allows the heart to pump blood more easily throughout the body.;;
How To Lower The Heart Rate
Practicing meditation or yoga may help to lower the heart rate.
If the heart rate is suddenly spiking in response to issues such as emotional stress or environmental factors, addressing the cause is the best way to reduce the heart rate.
Ways to reduce sudden changes in heart rate include:
- practicing deep or guided breathing techniques, such as box breathing
- relaxing and trying to remain calm
- going for a walk, ideally away from an urban environment
- having a warm, relaxing bath or shower
- practice stretching and relaxation exercises, such as yoga
Many lifestyle habits can contribute to lower the resting heart rate in the long term.
They may also improve a persons ability to maintain a healthy heart rate during physical activity and stress.
The following tips may help to lower the heart rate in the long term:
1. Exercise: The easiest and most effective way to achieve a lasting lower heart rate is to do regular exercise.
2. Stay hydrated: When the body is dehydrated, the heart has to work harder to stabilize blood flow. Throughout the day, drink plenty of sugar- and caffeine-free beverages, such as water and herbal tea.
3. Limit intake of stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine: Stimulants can cause dehydration, increasing the hearts workload.
4. Limit alcohol intake: Most forms of alcohol dehydrate the body. Alcohol is also a toxin, and the body must work harder to process and remove it.
Heart-healthy nutrients include:
What Is Resting Heart Rate
With each beat, blood is pumped out from your heart for circulation to different parts of your body. The resting heart rate, also known as RHR, is the speed at which the heart beats while you are resting. If you are physically active or stressed out, your heart rate will increase. A normal resting heart rate for adults varies from 60 to 100 beats per minute . Men have an average reading of 70-72 beats per minute bpm while women usually have a higher RHR of 78-82 bpm. This difference is because women have smaller hearts and lower blood volume circulating in their bodies.
Your resting heart rate can be changed through training, meaning you can improve the RHR count. The fitter or healthier you become, the lower your resting heart rate will become. Well-conditioned athletes usually have a resting heart rate of about 40 to 60 bpm. This means their heart has to do less work and is more efficient!
So when you are training effectively, your RHR should ideally become lower over a period of time. But if, despite your workouts, your RHR is getting higher, it is a clear sign of overtraining. Regardless of your recovery level, there may be some differences in your daily heart rate. A reading of 3 to 4 bpm more than your normal values is not something to get tensed over. But getting a count of over 5 to 7 bpm more than your normal RHR may be an indication that you have not fully recovered from your workout.
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Why Is It Important To Get It Checked
Often an irregular pulse is harmless. However, itâs important to get it checked by a health professional, because sometimes itâs a sign of a heart condition.
The most common kind of heart rhythm condition is atrial fibrillation , which can put you at greater risk of having a stroke. Fortunately, if you have AF, thereâs medication you can take to help reduce this stroke risk.
Your doctor can do a simple test called an ECG to further check your irregular pulse.
Preparing For Your Appointment
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
- Do you have a history of problems with your heart rate or rhythm? If so:
- Did you see a doctor?
- What was the diagnosis?
- What tests were done?
- How was it treated?
If you have kept a record of your heart rate or rhythm changes, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
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How To Check Your Pulse And Heart Rate
Exercise is an important part of cancer prevention. You need 150minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorousexercise each week to help lower your cancer risk. Your heart rate canhelp you determine if the exercise youre doing is moderate orvigorous.
If youre working at 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate, then thatexercise is considered moderate. If youre working at 70 to 85% ofyour heart rate then its vigorous exercise.
When Heart Rate Or Rhythm Changes Are More Serious
Irregular heartbeats change the amount of blood that flows to the lungs and other parts of the body. The amount of blood that the heart pumps may be decreased when the heart pumps too slow or too fast.
Changes such as atrial fibrillation that start in the upper chambers of the heart can be serious, because they increase your risk of forming blood clots in your heart. This in turn can increase your risk for having a stroke or a blood clot in your lungs . People who have heart disease, heart failure, or a history of heart attack should be more concerned with any changes in their usual heart rhythm or rate.
Fast heart rhythms that begin in the lower chambers of the heart are called ventricular arrhythmias. They include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. These types of heart rhythms make it hard for the heart to pump enough blood to the brain or the rest of the body and can be life-threatening. Ventricular arrhythmias may be caused by heart disease such as heart valve problems, impaired blood flow to the heart muscle , a weakened heart muscle , or heart failure.
Symptoms of ventricular tachycardia include palpitations, feeling dizzy or light-headed, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and fainting or near-fainting. Ventricular fibrillation may cause fainting within seconds and causes death if not treated. Emergency medical treatment may include medicines and electrical shock .
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
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What Heart Rate Is Too High
Generally, for adults, a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute is considered as high.
Your heart rate usually rises when you walk fast, run, or do any strenuous physical activities.;
Maximum heart rate and Target Heart Rate
Before doing any vigorous exercise, you should know your maximum heart rate and target heart rate, both of which vary by age.
Going beyond your maximum heart rate is not healthy for you. Your maximum heart rate depends on your age. This is how you can calculate it:
- Subtracting your age from the number 220 will give you your maximum heart rate. Suppose your age is 35 years, your maximum heart rate is 185 beats per minute. If your heart rate exceeds 185 beats per minute during exercise, it is dangerous for you.
- Your target heart rate zone is the range of heart rate that you should aim for if you want to become physically fit. It is calculated as 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.;
- Your target heart rate helps you to know if you are exercising at the right intensity.
- It is always better to consult your doctor before starting any vigorous exercise. This is especially important if you have diabetes, heart disease, or you are a smoker. Your doctor might advise you to lower your target heart rate by 50 percent or more.
Given below are the table showing the target heart rate zone and maximum heart rate as per age.
How To Slow A Fast Heart Rate
Tachycardia is a condition where your heart rate is very high. How fast your heart beats depends on your age and overall physical condition. In general, a heart rate thats above 100 beats per minute is considered too high for adults. A very fast heart rate can be disturbing and reason to panic. However, some causes of a rapid heart rate can be harmless. For instance, if your heart beats very fast after climbing a flight of stairs, you can slow it down by relaxing and taking deep breaths. But, if you suddenly feel your resting heart racing accompanied by chest pain, you should call 911 immediately.
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How You Can Lower Heart Rate From Anxiety
When you’re having a panic attack, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says it’s common to experience chest pain and palpitations as a response to your heart rate increasing. In fact, a panic attack is often mistaken for a heart attack.;
In people with diagnosed anxiety, Isaacson says that the first step is to treat the underlying anxiety, which can be done through cognitive behavioral therapy , medications such as antidepressants, or a combination of the two.;
In addition to CBT, several other methods may help manage heart rate and palpitations. Not only can these interventions help lower your heart rate at the moment, but they can also teach you how to manage your anxiety over time, potentially reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.;
Splash Your Face With Cold Water
Take ice water and pour it on your face or alternatively, deep your face in ice water. This stimulates the vagus nerve to slow down the heart rate by causing a dive reflex. The dive reflex is what slows down your metabolism and is what makes it possible for some people to survive underwater for a long time. Keep your face in the ice water until you notice a drop in your heart rate.
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What Is Your Target Zone
Target Heart Rate Zones by Age *
- Age: 20
- Target Heart Rate Zone : ** 120 170
- Predicted Maximum HR: 200
* This chart is based on the formula: 220 â your age = predicted maximum heart rate.
Maximum And Target Heart Rate
Its important to know what your maximum heart rate should be to avoid causing harm to your heart or body. To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. According to the American Heart Association , your target heart rate while doing moderately intense activities should be about 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. During vigorous exercise, it should be about 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate.
If you exceed your maximum heart rate, you may experience sore joints, sore muscles, or musculoskeletal injuries. Heart rate monitors are great to wear while exercising because they tell you your heart rate in real-time.
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