Heart rate refers to the number of heartbeats a person has per minute. It is also commonly referred to as a pulse. A low resting heart rate is usually a sign of good health. In this article you will learn how to measure the resting heart rate and then the ideal range and how to lower the heart rate immediately and in the long term.
The easiest way to measure your heart rate is to place your index and middle fingers next to each other on your neck below the edge of your jaw. Count how many heartbeats occur in 60 seconds. Some people can also feel their pulse in their wrist. It may be easier to count the number of heartbeats in 30 seconds and then multiply the result by 2. The heart rate is best measured after a long period of rest. The ideal is to count your heartbeats first thing in the morning while still in bed.
How to lower heart rate
When heart rate suddenly increases in response to issues like emotional stress or environmental factors, the best way to reduce it is to treat the cause.
Ways to reduce sudden changes in heart rate include:
– Practice deep or guided breathing techniques
– Relax and try to stay calm
– go for a walk, preferably away from an urban environment
– Take a warm and relaxing bath or shower
– Practice stretching and relaxation exercises, such as yoga.
Many lifestyle habits can contribute to a lower resting heart rate over the long term.
They can also improve a person’s ability to maintain a healthy heart rate during physical activity and stress.
11 tips to lower heart rate in the long term:
The easiest and most effective way to achieve a sustained low heart rate is through regular exercise.
2. Stay hydrated
When the body is dehydrated, the heart has to work harder to stabilize blood flow. Drink plenty of sugar- and caffeine-free beverages, such as water and herbal teas, throughout the day.
3. Limit the use of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine
Stimulants can cause dehydration, which increases the heart’s workload.
4. Limit alcohol consumption
Most forms of alcohol dehydrate the body. Alcohol is also a poison and the body has to work harder to process and eliminate it.
5. Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Eating a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, and legumes can help improve heart health as well as overall health. Foods and supplements high in antioxidants and healthy fats can lower blood pressure and ease the heartbeat.
Heart-healthy nutrients include:
– Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, lean meats, nuts, grains and legumes
– phenols and tannins present in tea, coffee and red wine (in moderation)
– Vitamin A, found in most leafy green vegetables
– Dietary fiber found in whole grains, nuts, legumes and most fruits and vegetables
– Vitamin C, which is mainly found in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and bean sprouts.
You can buy a variety of supplements online, including multivitamins, omega-3 supplements, and fiber supplements.
6. Get enough sleep
Chronic lack of sleep puts a strain on the whole body, including the heart. Most adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.
7. Maintain a healthy body weight
Obesity is also a source of stress for the body and heart.
8. Reduce or resolve sources of significant long-term stress
Stress from work, caring for a loved one, or financial pressures cause the heart and the rest of the body to work harder to maintain a normal rhythm and flow.
9. Seek psychological counseling
Traumatic experiences, grief, and some mental disorders take a toll on the body and can affect brain chemistry, making it harder to cope with daily activities and stressors.
10. Go outside
Research shows that people who spend more time in nature, even taking a short walk in the woods or in a park, tend to be happier and less stressed than people who don’t.
11. Practice relaxation techniques
Activities that increase self-awareness and mindfulness, like meditation and guided visualization, can help reduce stress when done regularly.
A relatively low resting heart rate is considered healthy, while a high resting heart rate can increase the risk of various pathologies. A low heart rate allows the heart to maintain a healthy rhythm and respond effectively to common stressors. This can be exercises, illnesses and everyday activities.
A relatively low heart rate contributes significantly to overall health. An abnormally high heart rate can lead to various health risks and problems.
Complications associated with a high heart rate include:
– a low energy level
– poor physical condition
– Chest pain or discomfort
– Difficulty or discomfort in breathing
– Reduced blood flow, especially in the hands and feet
– low blood pressure
– Dizziness, dizziness and fainting
– blood clots
– Heart failure, heart attack or stroke
Ideal heart rhythms
Heart rate varies. Many factors contribute to a change in heart rhythm, including
– physical activity
– time of day
– hormonal changes or fluctuations
– Emotional stress.
A healthy resting heart rate varies from person to person. However, for most people, the target resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm).
You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age in years from 220. A healthy heart rate is typically between 50 and 70 percent of your moderate-impact maximum heart rate. For intense activity, the healthy range is 70-85% of maximum heart rate.
The average heart rate zones are as follows:
Age in years Target heart rate Average maximum heart rate
20 100-170bpm 200bpm
30 95-162bpm 190bpm
40 93-157bpm 185bpm
45 90-153bpm 175bpm
50 88-149bpm 170bpm
55 85-145bpm 165bpm
60 83-140bpm 160bpm
65 80-136bpm 155bpm
70 75-128bpm 150bpm
An increased heart rate is often a natural bodily response. This is especially true if the increase is transient and caused by physical activity or emotional stress. An abnormally high resting heart rate for an extended period of time may indicate an underlying medical problem. Several lifestyle habits can help reduce transient heart rate spikes and lead to a long-term reduction. For example, if the average heart rate is abnormally high due to an underlying medical condition, a doctor may prescribe medications such as a beta-blocker.
Blood pressure vs heart rate (pulse).
John, RM, & Kumar, S. (2016 May 9). Sinus node and atrial arrhythmias. Circulation, 133 (19), 1892-1900
Know your target heart rates for exercise, weight loss and health. (2018, January 4)
LeWine, H. (2018, March 12). The increase in resting heart rate is a signal worth monitoring
Tyrväinen, L., Ojala, A., Korpela, K., Lanki, T., Tsunetsugu, Y., & Kagawa, T. (2014, June). The influence of urban green environments on stress reduction interventions: A field experiment [Abstract]. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 38, 1–9