When Should One Be Concerned With Their High Heart Rate
A heart rate that is over 100 BPM at rest is clinically diagnosed as tachycardia. This is a condition in which the heart beats faster than normal due to conditions that are unrelated to physiological or emotional stress. There are three types of tachycardia: sinus, supraventricular, and ventricular. These types can result from different rhythm disorders that affect the hearts normal electrical impulses.
While tachycardia is a concern, sometimes it is also completely normal for a fast heart beat to occur. For example, it is normal for HR to rise during exercise, stress, trauma or illness.
If your heart rate is steadily increasing at rest, this is a marker of heart health worth watching.
Why A Low Resting Heart Rate Is A Sign Of Fitness
To put it simply, When your heart rate goes down, it means that each heart beat is more effective . A low resting heart rate is an indication of a strong heart muscle that can pump out a greater amount of blood with every beat so it does not have to beat as frequently.
Your physical fitness is directly correlated to the strength of your heart. When your heart is in better condition and doesnt need to work as hard to push blood throughout the body and deliver oxygen to your muscles, your fitness improves.
When To Call Your Doctor
The heart is arguably the most important organ in the body. If something goes wrong, the consequences are sometimes fatal. Some heart problems may not be as detrimental as a heart attack, but this doesnt mean they shouldnt be taken seriously.
You should go to the doctor if your heart rate has been within a normal range and suddenly is not. This might indicate you have a heart problem like arrhythmia which is an abnormal heart rhythm, tachycardia which is when the heart beats consistently at over 100 bpm, or bradycardia which is a low heart rate thats less than 60 bpm.
You should seek emergency care if your rapid heart rate is resulting in symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, or dizziness, says Evan Jacobs, MD, the Regional Medical Director in Cardiovascular Services atConviva Care Centers. In general, a sustained heart rate above 130 beats per minute, regardless of symptoms, should prompt urgent evaluation. Your primary care doctor or cardiologist should be alerted to rates between 100 and 130 beats per minute and can decide on the need for emergency care on a case-by-case basis.
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How To Improve Resting Heart Rate
By far, the No. 1 thing to do for lowering resting heart rate is exercise. In particular, aerobic exercise like running or cycling will assist you in building cardiovascular strength.
Additionally, each of the behaviors below can help you decrease your RHR:
- Limiting stimulants like caffeine and nicotine
- Taking warm, calming showers or baths
- Going for walks outside, ideally in nature
- Relaxation exercises like guided breathing, meditation, stretching or yoga
Ways To Lower Heart Rate Naturally Overtime:
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Can Resting Heart Rate Be Too Low
While less common, some people may have a resting heart rate that falls lower than 60 beats per minute.
“When a person’s heart muscle is in excellent condition, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep a steady beat. Therefore, people who exercise frequently and are very physically fit can have a resting heart rate that falls below 60 beats per minute. In fact, a trained athlete’s resting heart rate can be as low as 40 beats per minute,” explains Dr. Chebrolu.
Additionally, medications, specifically beta blockers, can also slow your heart rate.
“The time to worry about a low heart rate is if you’re not very active and you’re not taking medications but your resting heart rate frequently falls below 60 beats per minute, especially if you’re also experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath or fainting,” warns Dr. Chebrolu. “This can be a sign of bradycardia a slower than normal heart rate that can lead to poor oxygen flow to your vital organs.”
Keep Your Doctor Informed Of Your Resting Heart Rate
This article is not meant to diagnose or treat you. Its intended to help you understand one aspect of your health, your resting heart rate. This article is based on scientific research, but science is continually changing. Thus, this information is subject to change.
Everyone is different and has unique circumstances. Consult with your medical provider before making any changes in your health, diet, and exercise.
Read my full medical disclaimer here.
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How To Determine Your Ideal Exercising Heart Rate
Some athletes like to follow target-heart-rate training. This is based on your intensity level compared to your maximum heart rate.
Your maximum heart rate is considered the highest amount your heart can sustain during cardiovascular training. To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.
Most athletes train at between 50 and 70 percent of their maximum heart rate. For example, if your maximum heart rate is 180 bpm, your target-training zone would be between 90 and 126 bpm. Use a heart rate monitor to keep track during exercise.
What Is A Healthy Resting Heart Rate For An Adult
A normal resting heart rate for adults lies somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute , and varies based on age group and gender. Women’s heart rates are about 2-7 BPM faster than men’s on average.
Generally speaking, you want to keep your resting heart rate as low as possible. One large, long-term study compared men with heart rates above 90 and those below 80. The men with higher average heart rates were associated with triple the risk of death.
People with lower heart rates tend to be more active and get more exercise than others. A young, highly-trained athlete’s healthy resting heart rate may be as low as 40 BPM.
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How Quickly And By How Much
A recent poster on Researchgate asked, Is it possible to decrease the heart rate by 20 bpm in 6 months The consensus? Yes, through exercise, but you need to be healthy to start, and work super hard.
G. Filligoi of Sapienza University of Rome recommends the relaxation route: You can decrease heart rate by respiration exercises, yoga, meditation. I would suggest some self-consciousness approach in order to reduce the anxiety, nervous stress, and similars.
Not everyone agrees its possible. In my opinion, says Oscar Fabregat-Andrés of MED Hospitales, it is not possible to modulate baseline heart rate in such magnitude, because although exercise is able to regulate autonomic system, vagal tone necessary to reach this rate is not performed in 6 months.
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How To Lower Your Heart Rate With Exercise
High-Intensity Interval Training involves giving 100% effort in a quick, intense burst of exercise, followed by a short resting period. HIIT increases your maximum heart rate and lowers your RHR.
HIIT is as simple as doing one exercise, like sprinting, as fast as you can run for 30 seconds, then resting for 90 seconds.
Warm-up first and start with one rep.
Rest for several days in between HIIT days. Build up slowly to a workout of several reps that takes about 15 minutes. Then try adding new exercises.
For the best results, dont set an arbitrary time. Instead, push yourself to your max. And then rest and recover until youre ready to give 100% again. For instance, give 100% effort for 15 seconds and rest for five minutes.
Learn more about the health benefits of HIIT and how to do it the right way in this short HIIT video from Thomas DeLauer.
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When Should I Go See A Doctor
If youre concerned your low resting heart rate is too low, you should contact your doctor. Mikolasko recommends checking in with a physician if your resting heart rate sits below 60 beats per minute consistently, just to be safe. This is definitely something you can cover with your physician during your annual physical, and they may tell you its nothing to be concerned about, he says. But its certainly better to be safe than sorry.
Remember, these things can also hinge on other situational factors. Its common for well-trained people to feel a bit lightheaded when moving quickly from a squat to stand, according to Roberts. Reaching to the floor or squatting for any length of time? Then you may find you have to stand still for a moment to let the blood reach your brain.
If you experience symptoms such as irregular heart beat, dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, blacking out, shortness of breath, or generalized weakness, you should check in with a doctor, STAT.
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Resting Heart Rate And Fitness
Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute while at complete rest. It is an indicator of your physical fitness. Your resting heart rate will decrease as your heart becomes stronger through aerobic exercise training.
A low resting heart rate indicates better fitness in people who are in athletic training or a workout program, but it can have other health significance for people who are not physically fit .
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How To Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
Originally published August 4, 2016 1:39 pm, updated April 16, 2020
The general rule for resting heart rate is: the lower the better. But, how to know how low or high your resting heart rate is? Heres how you can prepare for measuring your resting heart rate and how to do it in five steps.
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.
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Exercise Recovery And Overtraining
Athletes sometimes monitor their RHR to help them determine when they have fully recovered from a hard workout or race. Since they already know their usual RHR, they can monitor it and see when it returns to normal .
A resting heart rate that is 5 bpm above your usual RHR indicates that you may need more recovery time.
A high resting heart rate is a sign of overtraining. Your resting heart rate may be elevated for one or more days after a vigorous endurance workout, such as running a 10K race or walking a half-marathon. You may want to delay another hard workout until your resting heart rate has returned to its usual value.
Fitness monitors and apps that record resting heart rate daily can use that data to give you a notification when you are ready for another hard workout. If you aren’t fully recovered, the app might recommend a light intensity workout instead.
Does Your Heart Have A Maximum Number Of Beats
The maximum number of lifetime heartbeats for humans is about 3 billion. But you wont die when you reach a set number of heartbeats. Heartbeats, however, are a marker of your metabolic rate. The faster your metabolic rate , the shorter your lifespan.
The total number of heartbeats per lifetime is amazingly similar across all mammals. For instance, a mouse has a heart rate of 500 to 600 beats per minute but lives less than two years. At the other extreme, a Galápagos tortoise has a heart rate of about six beats per minute and has a life expectancy of 177 years.
A mouse heart beats about 100 times faster than that of a tortoise. But a tortoise lives 100 times longer than a mouse. Humans, however, have about 60 bpm and have about 3 billion heartbeats per lifetime.
Can Resting Heart Rate Be Too High
Can resting heart rate be too high?
As mentioned, normal heart rate can range between 60 to 100 beats per minute. So, if your resting heart rate is consistently higher than 100, do you need to be worried?
“The more beats your heart has to take on a regular basis, the more strain it places on your heart over time. A resting heart rate regularly above 100 beats per minute is called tachycardia, which can place you at an increased risk of heart disease, and even death if your heart rate climbs high enough,” warns Dr. Chebrolu.
This means that it’s incredibly important to talk to your doctor if you’re resting heart rate is consistently high. He or she can run the tests and bloodwork needed to assess your overall heart health.
Your doctor can also recommend lifestyle changes that may help lower your resting heart rate, including:
- Getting regular exercise
- Regularly practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation
- Losing excess weight
- Maintaining healthy choices and modifying your cardiovascular risk factors
- Avoiding certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that can affect your heart rate
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use
“In particular, starting an exercise program can help you decrease your resting heart rate up to one beat per minute for every week or so that you train with reductions in resting heart rate, over time, ranging from 10 to 12 beats per minute,” adds Dr. Chebrolu.
When Heart Rate Or Rhythm Changes Are Minor
Many changes in heart rate or rhythm are minor and do not require medical treatment if you do not have other symptoms or a history of heart disease. Smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or taking other stimulants such as diet pills or cough and cold medicines may cause your heart to beat faster or skip a beat. Your heart rate or rhythm can change when you are under stress or having pain. Your heart may beat faster when you have an illness or a fever. Hard physical exercise usually increases your heart rate, which can sometimes cause changes in your heart rhythm.
Natural health products, such as goldenseal, oleander, motherwort, or ephedra , may cause irregular heartbeats.
It is not uncommon for pregnant women to have minor heart rate or rhythm changes. These changes usually are not a cause for concern for women who do not have a history of heart disease.
Well-trained athletes usually have slow heart rates with occasional pauses in the normal rhythm. Evaluation is usually not needed unless other symptoms are present, such as light-headedness or fainting , or there is a family history of heart problems.
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How Do I Check My Resting Heart Rate
To check your heart rate:
- Sit down and rest for 5 minutes.
- Turn your wrist so your palm is facing up.
- Feel for a pulse at thumb side of your wrist.
- Once you feel it, count how many times you feel a beat in 30 seconds. Then double it.
If you cant find your pulse at your wrist, put 2 fingers on the side of your neck, next to the windpipe.
If you still cant find a pulse, ask someone else to feel it for you.