Clinical Contributors To This Story
Sarah L. Timmapuri, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiac / Heart Health, Exercise / Fitness.
If your heart is racing as youre sitting reading this article, its possible your body is trying to tell you something. A high resting heart rate, or a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute, means your heart is working extra hard to pump blood through your body. And, that extra effort could result in a wide range of negative effects on your overall health, including feelings of dizziness and fatigue and most seriously blood clots, heart failure and, in rare cases, sudden death.
Normal resting heart rate is anywhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and its simple to check how fast yours is beating. While idle, hold your pointer and middle finger between your bone and tendon on the thumb side on your wrist until you feel your pulse, and count the number of beats for a minute that is your resting heart rate.
Certain aspects of someones resting heart rate are directly connected to uncontrollable factors, such as age and genetics, however there are certain actions that be taken to help decrease heart rate and improve overall wellbeing for those whose resting heart rate is above normal.
Here are six proven ways to lower your resting heart rate:
Know Your Numbers: Maximum And Target Heart Rate By Age
This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3
In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity its about 70-85% of maximum.
The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.
Two Caveats To Keep In Mind
If you notice a change in your resting heart rate but none of the scenarios above seem plausible, there are two other factors that may be playing a part: age and medication.
Resting Heart Rate Increases With AgeMost of the time your RHR can be modified. Unfortunately, as you get older, your RHR tends to increase. To reduce the impact that aging can have on your cardiovascular system, you can help maximize your results by exercising within your target HR zone to help lower your resting heart rate.
Medication Affects Resting Heart RateChanges in your resting heart rate can also result from over-the-counter or prescription medications. Medications to treat asthma, depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder tend to increase your RHR. However, medications prescribed for hypertension and heart conditions typically decrease your resting heart rate.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.
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Track Your Heart Rate
Keeping track of your heart rate can give you insight into your fitness level, heart health and emotional health, Dr. Sinha says. Many people are walking around with a resting heart rate that is too high, due to factors such as too much caffeine, dehydration, inactivity and persistent stress. Those extra heart beats over time can be taking years off your life.
Dr. Sinha recommends tracking your heart rate as well as keeping a journal of which activities are causing higher heart rates. Then use that information to make changes, set priorities and move toward a healthier life. If daily stress is raising your resting heart rate, for example, think twice about taking on that extra project at work or school. Consider adding a morning walk or a 10-minute breathing session at lunch.
A final reminder from Dr. Sinha: Get your doctors OK before exercising hard if you have a heart condition or other disorder where exercising may be unsafe. Also keep in mind that certain medications can affect your heart rate, making it a less reliable measurement.
The Value Of Checking Your Exercise Heart Rate And Your Recovery Heart Rate
Your heart rate during exercise will help you determine whether youre reaching your fitness goals. If youre training in the cardiovascular zone, your heart rate should be between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate.
Although the formula isnt completely accurate, you can estimate your resting heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. If youre 50, for example, your maximum resting heart rate would be 170. So, if youre within 50 to 85% of this value, youre training at high enough intensity to get cardiovascular benefits.
What you might not realize is your heart rate rises even before you begin a workout in anticipation of the work to follow. In fact, research suggests that a sharp rise in heart rate in anticipation of exercise might signify a greater risk of death. An increase of greater than 12 beats per minute from the resting rate) just before exercise began was linked with double the risk of dying a heart-related death in males relative to those who experienced less than a 4 beat-per-minute rise in heart rate.
Why might this be? A big change in heart rate in anticipation of exercise may indicate an imbalance with the autonomic, or automatic, nervous system that regulates how the heart responds to stress.
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What Is Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate is a range of numbers that reflect how fast your heart should be beating when you exercise. A higher heart rate is a good thing that leads to greater fitness, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist;Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H.;During exercise, you can monitor heart rate and try to reach this target zone. Doctors also use target heart rate to interpret the results of a cardiac stress test.
How To Find Your Resting Heart Rate
This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 93% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 71,450 times.
Experts agree that your resting heart rate is an important indicator of your fitness level and overall cardiovascular health.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Finding your resting heart rate is simple, and something you can do on your own at home. Studies show that once you’ve tracked your heart rate, you can use the information to help you learn more about your heart and your health.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source There are several steps you can take to effectively use this information in your daily life.
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Target Heart Rates Chart
What should your heart rate be when working out, and how can you keep track of it? Our simple chart will help keep you in the target training zone, whether you want to lose weight or just maximize your workout. Find out what normal resting and maximum heart rates are for your age and how exercise intensity and other factors affect heart rate.
How Will You Spend Your Heartbeats
- Your resting heart rate appears to determine how long you live. And the things you do to lower your resting heart rate are good for your overall health.
- Theres at least one risk factor of having a very low RHR, but there seems to be a higher risk of overall disease at higher heart rates.
- Stress, physical or emotional, seems to be the most important factor in determining your heart rate.
- Exercise allows your body to adapt to stressful situations better. Additionally, it will enable your body to reach a deeper relaxed state as your heart muscle becomes stronger and your circulation becomes more efficient.
- How do you compare with your age group? I am in the athlete range, but I exercise regularly.
- If youre going to exercise, build up slowly so your body can adapt.
- I find the simplest exercises are the most effective. Theyre the ones you can do at home every day without going to the gym.
- High-intensity interval training is one of the quickest and most effective workouts for resting heart rate, HRV, muscle building, and weight loss. Why not give it a try?
- You have a maximum number of lifetime heartbeats, use them well.
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What Are The Different Training Zones
A heart rate training zone is a range that defines the intensity of your training. The upper and lower boundaries of each zone are calculated using your maximum heart rate which also depends on your age.
Moderate Activity : 50-60% of HRmax. This is the most comfortable training zone. It is primarily used to warm-up and to recover after a more intense zone. It strengthens your heart and improves muscle mass while it reduces body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure, and your risk for degenerative disease.
Weight Control : 60-70% of HRmax. This is the best zone for burning fat. It gives you all the benefits of the moderate activity zone but with increased intensity. 85% of calories burned in this zone are from fat.
Aerobic : 70-80% of HRmax. Aerobic exercise makes your lungs work harder as your bodys need for oxygen increases. This zone improves your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also increases the size and strength of your heart. More calories are burned in this zone but only 50% of the calories come from fat.
Anaerobic : 80-90% of HRmax. Training in this zone improves your athletic performance. Only 15% of the calories burned in this zone come from fat.
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What Is Maximum Heart Rate
Your maximum heart rate is, on average, the highest your pulse can get. One way to get a rough estimate of your predicted maximum is to subtract your age from the number 220.
For example, a 40-year-old’s predicted maximum heart rate is about 180 beats per minute.
You can learn your actual maximum heart rate with a graded exercise test. If youâre taking medicines or have a medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, ask your doctor whether you should adjust your exercise plan to keep your heart rate under a specific number.
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When Your Heart Rate Spikes
Sometimes, your pulse might jump up for a little while. Most of the time, you heart will slow down naturally. If not, or if it happens regularly, these things can help get that number down.
Vagal maneuvers: These physical actions can reset your heart rate. For example, hold your nose and breathe out of your mouth. Itâs similar to when you want to pop your ears when youâre on an airplane. Or you can put your face in ice-cold water for several seconds or cough forcefully.
Medication: Your doctor may prescribe it to help treat an abnormal heart rate. Things like beta-blockers may help prevent future episodes.
Pacemaker: This small device can sense a rapid heartbeat. When it does, it sends an electrical signal and helps the heart return to normal. Your doctor would implant it under your skin.
Catheter ablation: Sometimes the cause of your racing pulse may be an extra electrical pathway in the heart. Your doctor would perform this procedure, which makes it so the extra circuit no longer sends signals. It doesnât require surgery. Usually, this is suggested only when medicines don’t work.
American Heart Association: âKnow your target heart rates of exercise, losing weight and health,â “Tachycardia: Fast Heart Rate,â “Ablation for Arrhythmias.”
CDC: âHealth Effects of Cigarette Smoking.â
Circulation: âFish Consumption is Associated with Lower Heart Rates.â
The Heart Foundation: âYour Heart Rate.â
âWhatâs a normal resting heart rate?â
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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 doctor about any changes in your health, diet, and exercise.
Read my full medical disclaimer here.
What’s A Normal Heart Rate
Most adults have a resting heart rate;between 60;and 100bpm.
The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be. For example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60bpm, or lower.
See a GP to get checked if you think your heart rate is continuously above 120bpm or below 40bpm, although it;may simply be that this is normal for you.
Visit the British Heart Foundation for more information on checking your pulse.
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Why Measure Your Rhr
Whereas your FTP;is a good indicator of your work,;resting heart rate can be a very good indicator of recovery. The proper combination of work;and recovery is necessary for continued improvement in your performance.;The goal is to fit in as much work as possible without accumulating excessive fatigue.
If you;havent put in enough work, youre simply not going to be fast enough. But, if you;havent recovered enough, you could be headed for a whole host of problems. A lack of proper recovery leads to fatigue, which holds you back from the benefits of;your training. Worst of all, excessive fatigue;often leaves you prone to illnesses that can derail your training.
What Your Heart Rate Can And Cant Tell You About Your Health
Before the rise in popularity of fitness trackers and smartwatches, cardiologist Sadiya Khan said patients rarely came in with questions about why their heart rates seemed high or low. But the growing interest in wearable devices, which some early research suggests can even detect coronavirus symptoms, means many people have a trove of real-time health information at their fingertips.
I see a lot more people asking about heart rate because you can track it, you can monitor it, you can make pretty graphs on your Apple Watch, said Khan, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine.
But while your heart rate can be a key indicator of your health, Khan and other experts emphasized that it is just one piece of the puzzle.
Its a place to start, said Seth Martin, a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins. If thats your entry into thinking about ones health, then thats great. But your heart rate cant tell you everything you need to know about your health, he added, and it is important not to fixate on that one measure.
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Which Is The Best Way To Measure Your Resting Heart Rate
You can measure your heart rate manually, and the procedure is very simple. The most convenient place to measure it is on your wrist. First, you have to locate the pulse or beat by pressing the side of your wrist below the thumb. Press gently on that place for exactly 30 seconds and double the beats. This gives you your heart rate in beats per minute . If you feel your beat is a bit irregular, count it till 60 seconds.
The best time to measure your resting heart rate is as soon as you get up in the morning, preferably after a good nights sleep.
Things Your Resting Heart Rate Can Tell You
Youre Not Active EnoughA normal resting heart rate for the average adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute or 40 to 60 bpm for highly conditioned athletes.If youre sedentary most of the day, your RHR likely approaches or exceeds the top end of this range. This may be ;because your heart is less efficient. The good news? By regularly engaging in moderate to vigorous aerobic activities , you will help your heart ;become more efficient at pumping blood, plus you might shed a few pounds, all of which will lower your resting heart rate over time. Even modest reductions in resting heart rate can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and add years to your life!
Youre OvertrainingWhile pushing your body can lead to great gains, it can also be detrimental. If you notice an increase in your resting heart rate when youre going heavy on the training and light on the rest, your body may be telling you that you need to scale back. By giving it the proper rest it needs, your body can repair and adapt and you may bounce back ;stronger than ever.
Youre Sleep DeprivedAlways exhausted? Chronic sleep deprivationwhich can lead to fatigue, a lower metabolism, and extra snackingcan also raise your resting heart rate. ;Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
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