Heart rate is a measure of the number of heartbeats a person has in a minute. It is usually referred to as a pulse. When you have a lower resting heart rate, it is considered to be a sign that you are in good cardiovascular health. If you do not have a low resting heart rate, then there is no reason to worry as there are many ways to lower the heart rate that you can do easily. For adults, a healthy resting heart rate should typically be between 60 to 100 beats per minute. However, to derive a normal resting heart rate is difficult as the heart rate varies from person to person as well as throughout the day depending on which time you measure the heart rate. Here we take a look at how you can lower the resting heart rate.
Importance of a Low Resting Heart Rate and Your Health
A low heart rate allows your heart to maintain a healthy rate of pumping blood throughout the body and to the brain. This also maintains the body’s response to routine stressors in a better manner. Having a low heart rate is important to maintaining your overall health. If you have an abnormally high heart rate, then it can cause numerous health risks and complications. Complications that are generally associated with having a high heart rate include.
- Low levels of energy
- Low physical fitness
- Chest pain or chest discomfort
- Difficulty breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Reduced blood circulation, especially the feet and hands
- Development of blood clots
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
What is the Ideal Heart Rate?
There is nothing like an ideal heart rate as the heart rate varies from person to person depending on many factors. The factors that can contribute to a changing heart rate are.
- Time of the day
- Level of physical activity
- Hormonal changes or fluctuations
- Emotional stress
For most people, though, a target resting heart rate should ideally be between 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). If you are performing any strenuous activity, then the healthy range will be 70-80 percent of what your maximum heart rate is.
How to Lower Resting Heart Rate?
If you experience a sudden spike in your heart rate in response to factors such as emotional stress or even environmental factors, then the best way to address the issue would be to reduce your heart rate.
Some ways in which you can reduce the sudden changes to your heart rate include.
- Immediately indulging in some relaxing activity and trying to remain calm.
- By practicing deep, guided breathing techniques. Box breathing is one such technique that helps.
- Going for a walk, preferably away from your usual urban environment.
- Taking a relaxing warm bath or shower.
- Practicing relaxation and stretching exercises such as yoga.
- Meditation can also help.
There are also many lifestyle habits you should incorporate that will contribute to a lower resting heart rate in the future. This will not only help your health in the long run, but it will also improve your ability to maintain a healthy heart rate during incidences of stress or during physical activity as well.
Here are some more tips you can follow to lower your resting heart rate in the future.
Regular Exercise. One of the easiest and most effective ways of achieving a longer lasting lower heart rate is to exercise regularly. Having a regular exercise regimen, even if it’s only for 15-20 minutes, will help immensely in keeping your heart rate low.
Remain hydrated. In a state of dehydration, your heart has to pump even harder to stabilize the blood flow within your body. This is why it is so important that during the day you drink plenty of water and other beverages. However, make sure to steer clear of sugary and caffeinated beverages. Opt for plain water, water with a lime slice added to it, or even herbal tea.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake. Alcohol, be it in any form, will dehydrate your body. Alcohol is also a known toxin, which causes the body to work twice as hard to process and remove it from your system.
Limit Your Intake Of Nicotine, Caffeine, And Other Such Stimulants. Stimulants such as coffee or regular smoking are known to cause dehydration, which, as described above, increases the workload and pressure on your heart.
Maintain a Balanced and Healthy Diet. It is important for your overall health that you eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. The more variety of foods you include in your diet the better it will be. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, fiber, and lean proteins in your diet to improve your heart health, and they are also good for your overall health.
Foods and supplements that are rich in healthy fats and antioxidants will also help you lower your blood pressure, making it easier for your heart to pump blood.
Some of the nutrients that are healthy for your heart are as follows.
- Vitamin A, found in abundance in green leafy vegetables.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, as well as in lean meats, nuts, legumes, and grains.
- Dietary fiber found aplenty in nuts, whole grains, legumes, and most fruits and vegetables.
- Phenols and tannins, found primarily in tea, coffee, and red wine (but consume red wine only in moderation)
- Vitamin C, found in abundance in leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and even bean sprouts.
There are also many types of supplements available in the market or you can purchase online as well, including omega-3 supplements, multivitamins, and fiber supplements as well.
Sufficient Amount Of Sleep. It may not seem to be important for your heart rate, but the fact is that a chronic lack of sleep over a period of time starts putting stress on your entire body, not just your heart. An adult should be getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Watch Your Weight. It is important that you maintain a healthy body weight as well. Extra weight puts a lot of strain on your heart to pump blood and also puts a strain on your entire body.
Lower Your Stress. Resolve or try to reduce the sources of substantial long-term stress. Stress can be caused by work, by caring for a loved one, or even financial burdens can be a source of stress. All these put your body and heart under a lot of pressure, causing the body to work harder for being able to maintain normal blood flow.
Go Outdoors. Research has shown that people who spend a lot of time outside in nature, for example even just taking a short walk in the woods or walking around a park, tend to be less stressed and happier than people who prefer staying indoors.
Seek Psychological Counseling. If you have had a traumatic experience or you have a mental health condition, then it can cause alterations to your brain chemistry. This makes it difficult for such people to deal with stress and even everyday activities become a strain. In such conditions, seeking professional counseling or psychological help will help you deal with your situation in an effective manner, thus reducing the amount of stress in your life.
Practice Some Relaxation Techniques. There are many activities that can help increase your mindfulness and self-awareness. Meditation and guided visualization are activities you can practice to help lower our stress levels if you practice them regularly.
A high heart rate is usually a natural response of your body trying to indicate that not all is well. This is particularly true if the spike in heart rate are temporary and are caused by emotional stress or strenuous physical activity. However, if your resting heart rate is abnormally high for a long period of time, then it is usually a signal of an underlying medical condition that needs your attention. It is possible to lower your heart rate by changing your lifestyle to incorporate certain healthy habits. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you lower your heart rate. If your heart rate remains unusually high in spite of all the measures you are taking, then you should consider consulting a doctor to rule out any medical condition.