Proven Ways To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate
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:
5. Be Mindful of Your Breathing: On the topic of medication, another quick and easy way to lower your heart rate is to practice mindful breathing exercises. Inhale slowly for five seconds and then exhale slowly for 15 seconds. Try dedicating five minutes to this each day.
Drugs Are Messing With Your Numbers
Certain medications can reset your heart rate readings and give you a new normal.
“Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers are the main ones that can lower a heart rate,” says Taub.
Both relax your heart, which can slow it down. That’s not necessarily dangerous, but check with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Caffeine, on the other hand, can ramp up a heartbeat in a hurry. It’s often found in headache medications, and it lurks in certain food and drinks, like tea and chocolate.
“Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine, so they drink a coffee or an energy drink, and they immediately get elevations of their heart rate,” says Taub.
Cutting back should help.
What Are Heart Palpitations
Most of the time you wont notice your heartbeat, but if you suddenly become aware of it, this may concern you or come as a surprise. The feeling of being aware of your heart beating is described as a palpitation.
Palpitations can range from simply being aware of your hearts activity to the sensation of it beating faster and harder than usual. It can sometimes feel like your heart is missing beats or you have a heart flutter.
Changes to your heartbeat are usually not serious. But always see your doctor if you have palpitations or feel you have an irregular heart beat.
Dial triple zero if you have heart palpitations along with these symptoms:
- severe shortness of breath
- fainting or blackouts
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Whats An Elevated Heart Rate
A resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute is considered normal for adults. But it can vary based on your age and fitness level. For example, well-conditioned athletes can have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute, according to the American Heart Association.
“Whenever you get a consistently higher heart rate, more than 100 in an otherwise healthy person, at rest, it’s something that may need to be evaluated,” says Rakesh Gopinathannair, MD, an electrophysiologist with the Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Is Running At A High Heart Rate A Concern
Welcome to the next edition of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, Im Brad Brown and with me is Comrades Marathon coach, Lindsey Parry. Lindsey, welcome back onto the podcast, thank you so much for your time today.
A very interesting question today that was submitted by Juanita and she said shes not overly concerned about this. But she wants to get some feedback. She says its an issue and shes got various opinions online about it and shes not quite sure if you have a take on it.
Basically what shes saying is that if youre running with a heart rate monitor and you notice that your heart rate is on average about 20 beats faster than the runners around you, should you be concerned?
She says shes 40 years old, she weights 50kg and her heart rate is regularly high when compared to other runners.
Her resting heart rate is between 50-60 beats per minute. But when she runs shes averaging between 160 and 190 with her maximum heart rate peaking at about 200 beats per minute, during last weekends 10km that she did up in Gauteng.
She doesnt feel faint or tired or disorientated or in any pain. She just wants to know, should she be concerned?
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Know Your Numbers: Heart Rate
The better you understand your heart rate, the more you can maximize your movement to give your heart a good workout.
What is your heart rate?
Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Your resting heart rate is the heart pumping the lowest amount of blood you need because you’re not exercising. If you are sitting or lying down and you’re calm, relaxed and aren’t ill your heart rate is normally between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Other factors can affect your heart rate include:
- Air temperature When temperatures or humidity increases, the heart pumps more blood so you pulse or heart rate may increase.
- Body position Sometimes when going from a sitting to a standing position, your pulse may go up a little. After a few minutes, it should return to a normal rate.
- Medications that block adrenaline tend to slow your heart rate. Thyroid medication may raise it.
Why your heart rate matters
What’s considered normal?
Your target heart rate is the minimum heart rate in a given amount of time to reach the level of energy necessary to give your heart a good workout. To find your target heart rate to maximize your cardiovascular exercise, the first step is determining your maximum heart rate.
Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Your target heart rate for moderate exercise is about 50%85% of your maximum heart rate.
Averages by age as a general guide are:
What you can do
If Youre Out For A Training Run
Sure, you may get competitive with your training buddies or internet friends on Strava, but ultimately, workouts arent made to be won or lost. Thats what race day is for.
So, if you find yourself running with an elevated heart rate for too long, you should absolutely slow down, ease up, walk for a bit, or take a few moments to regain your composure and your breath.
While it may seem counterintuitive, working harder isnt always better.
From a health perspective, in the short term, Im not too concerned that an athlete will work so hard that there are any dangers to an overly elevated heart rate, says exercise physiologist and City Coach Multisport owner Jonathan Cane. But long, high-intensity work may increase that risk.
Im a big believer in working hard on hard days, but also that the counterpoint of really easy days is important, says Cane. Ideally, each workout should have a purpose. If its a recovery day, by all means, take it easy. If its a day where your goal is to increase your threshold, then push your heart rate to that area. If its a VO2 max kind of day, by all means work really hard and dont be deterred by a high heart rate.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Palpitations At Night
When you lay down you may feel:
- Fluttering. Some people describe this sensation as a flapping or fluttery feeling in the chest. Your heart may feel like its doing flips.
- Irregular heart rate. It might feel like your heart is beating out of rhythm, skipping a beat, or speeding up and slowing down. It can also seem like your heart stops for a second or two.
- Pounding. You might feel like your heart is beating very hard or forcefully. Some people who have heart pounding say they can hear it beating in their ears.
How Are Heart Palpitations Managed
If you have heart palpitations, or irregular or rapid heartbeats, there are a number of things you can do:
- Try to sit down and relax or find somewhere quiet to rest.
- Keep yourself calm and in a comfortable position.
- Try not to panic as this can make your symptoms worse.
- You may find it helpful to loosen any restrictive clothing that can affect your breathing, such as your collar button and tie.
- Avoid any stimulants that could make your palpitations worse this includes caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and recreational drugs.
If you are concerned about your heart palpitations, please consult your doctor.
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You’re Dehydrated Or Too Hydrated
Minerals in your body with an electric charge are called electrolytes. If you drink too much water or not enough, it can throw off the ratio of electrolytes to water in your system, which messes with your body chemistry.
“If your potassium, calcium, or magnesium levels are very low, that can induce arrhythmias , which can manifest as a higher heart rate,” says Taub.
Treatment Of Fast Heart Rate
Treat the Underlying Cause: Most important is to ensure there is no underlying systemic problem that is causing the fast heart rate. If there is anemia, for example, that will need to be treated. Infection and dehydration would need to be treated. Hormonal imbalances would require treating. Medications will be reviewed and any potential offending agents will need to be stopped if possible.
Medications: It is important not just to treat a number the reason underlying must be sought out. If the fast heart rate is thought to be from a cardiac cause then the appropriate treatment should be given. If there is significant muscle dysfunction then treatment aimed at strengthening the heart is given. If there are problems with the electrical system of the heart then medicines to slow the rate may be given such a beta blockers or calcium channel blockers. In some cases stronger medicines that prevent the occurrence of the arrhythmia in the first place may be prescribed, known as anti-arrhythmic medications. Specialists known as electrophysiologists typically prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications.
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Heart Palpitations And Ectopic Beats
Heart palpitations are heartbeats that suddenly become more noticeable.
Your heart may feel like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for just a few seconds or minutes. You may also feel these sensations in your throat or neck.
Palpitations may seem alarming, but in most cases they’re harmless and are not a sign of a serious problem.
Sometimes you may feel an extra or missed beat. These are known as ectopic beats and are also usually nothing to worry about.
How Are Heart Palpitations Diagnosed
Your doctor will talk to you about how the palpitations start , how long they last, how often they happen and any other symptoms you may have and your family history.
They may send you for further testing, including an electrocardiogram to measure your hearts electrical activity. This may be done by wearing a Holter monitor, a device that you wear for 24 hours while going about your normal activities.
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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.
Can I Prevent Heart Palpitations At Night
You may not be able to prevent heart palpitations at night, but you can lower your risk. You should:
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, especially before bed. If you smoke, talk to your provider about a plan to quit smoking.
- Dont eat a big meal right before you go to bed.
- Get treatment for anxiety or depression. Talk to your provider about antidepressant medication and therapy.
- Take steps to reduce stress on a daily basis. Try meditation, yoga, diaphragmatic breathing and other relaxation techniques.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you carry extra weight or have obesity, ask your provider about a weight loss plan.
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Likely Causes Of High Heart Rate Also Known As Tachycardia
- Hypertension, a heart-related medical condition also known ashigh blood pressure.
- Panic attack or strong emotional stress such as anxiety or fear.
- Strong or vigorous physical activity.
- Heart-related dieses than can lead to poor blood supply to the heart muscle such as, heart failure, heart muscle disease ,artery disease , heart valve disease, ), tumors, or infections.
- Drinking large amount of alcohol, caffeinated beverages, illegal drug abuse like cocaine or Medical conditions, including thyroid disease, a low blood sugar,low blood pressure, anemia, fever, and dehydration.
Symptoms Of A Fast Heart Rate
Many people dont have symptoms when they find out they have a fast heart rate. They often just notice it when checking their pulse rate, or from a blood pressure machine or a Fitbit type accessory. Some patients may feel tired, short of breath, dizzy or fatigued. If the heart rate is particularly fast people may notice a thumping sensation or palpitations. If the heart rate is particularly fast, there may be a sensation of light-headedness or feeling of faintness. In the case of SVT that comes and goes at unpredictable times, there may be intermittent palpitations and light-headedness. When the palpitations come on, some patients may have associated chest pain that on occasion can point to underlying heart artery disease. If the palpitations are more serious, people may pass out as a result.
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When Changes In Heart Rhythms Warrant A Physicians Attention
Though most fluctuations in heart rhythms will likely be harmless, there are times your first response should be to seek medical advice.
- Your symptoms are sudden and abnormal. If theres a clear first time that you notice a rhythm change in your heart, its a good idea to alert your doctor, Anderson says. You should also call your doctor when a change in heart rhythms corresponds to chest pain, losing consciousness or a prolonged sense that you might pass out. Likewise, contact a medical professional if a rhythmic abnormality persists.
- Your history involves other heart issues. If you were born with a malformation if youve had heart surgery if youve had a heart attack or long-standing, untreated high blood pressure or if there is something otherwise abnormal with your heart and you notice abnormal heart rhythms, you should see your doctor.
- Your family history puts you at increased risk. Your doctor may ask you to attend more closely to changes in your heart rhythms if your family has a history of heart disease or sudden death.
Cadence Monitor Instead Of Heart Rate Monitor
What happens to your wrist when you run? Your arm is counter-balancing the movement of your legs and thus your wrists are moving forwards and backwards at the same rate as your feet are taking steps. The number of steps you take each minute is called Cadence. This normally doesnt change much throughout your run.
When you are using a wrist based heart rate monitor instead of a chest strap sensor, the watch needs to be snug against your wrist, otherwise slight movements in the watch position caused by the arm movements are determined to be changes in light levels. Since thats exactly what the sensor in the watch is looking for, it can easily lock on to these instead. In this case, the graph will look just like Exhibit A above. Or if perhaps it will get confused and jump between the two, like in Exhibit C, with a few minutes showing real heart rate and few minutes showing cadence instead. Note that Ive included the cadence readout in Exhibit C and you can see it exactly matches the false heart rate value.
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What Causes A Racing Heart
Normal hearts beat 60100 times every minute. When your heart beats more than 100 times each minute, thats considered high . Fast heartbeats can last for seconds to hours.
Not all cases of a racing heartbeat are dangerous. Many everyday situations that arent related to heart problems can cause your heart to race. These can include the following:
- heavy exercise
If your doctor thinks you may have one of these conditions, your doctor may give you an EKG, a chest X-ray, or an echocardiogram to diagnose whats wrong.