How to Lower Your Heart Rate

There are many ways to lower your heart rate, as well as ways to learn to control it. Discover 9 things you can do.
How to Lower Your Heart Rate

Last update: 16 January, 2023

Heart rate is understood as the number of heartbeats in 60 seconds. In general, heart rate, also popularly known as pulse, is taken as a predictor of good health. Many people wonder if it’s possible to lower your heart rate, and the answer is a resounding yes. We’ll show you 9 ways in which you can do it.

As the Heart Foundation rightly points out, the resting heart rate ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute. When a person is doing physical activity, their frequency can easily exceed 160 beats. In both cases, it’s considered normal, and variables such as the intake of certain medications, emotions, or anxiety can alter these values.

9 tips to lower your heart rate

Experts warn that the heart isn’t a perfect metronome. Your heart rate adjusts to the level of effort that’s required of your heart, and even in resting situations, the heart rate isn’t the same. Heart rate is often taken to be an indicator of good health, although it’s important to note that these claims have their nuances.

A lower heart rate translates into a healthier heart rhythm, as well as more efficient heart function. You can lower your heart rate with small changes in your lifestyle, and best of all, these also provide you with other health benefits. Let’s see what you can do to lower your heart rate.

1. Exercise regularly

As indicated by specialists, regular exercise is the best way to lower heart rate. Specifically, medium/high-intensity exercise and that which is prolonged permanently. Indeed, low-intensity training has less impact, and after a couple of weeks without activity, the heart returns to its regular heart rate.

For this reason, it’s important that the exercise or sport you practice is of moderate or high intensity, and that you include it as part of your daily routine. Of course, start with a plan adjusted to your physical condition; and don’t force your body until you have enough resistance to withstand such a demand. The first benefits are perceived in just weeks.

2. Practice breathing techniques

A man and woman standing in a field, practicing breathing techniques.
The better the self-control to master the respiratory rhythm, the more control there will be over your pulsations.

Breathing techniques have been known to affect heart rate for decades. Techniques that provide a smooth, slow cadence of respiratory rate result in a decrease in heartbeats per minute. In general, the cadence of the heartbeat increases during inspiration and decreases during expiration.

Those who practice a sport find that they can control their heart rates by concentrating only on their breathing. A disordered and exalted respiratory process translates into higher heart rates. We invite you then to practice breathing exercises at home, as well as to control your respiratory rate while you exercise.

3. Control your stress levels

Stress triggers a series of physical and psychological responses in the body. Among other things, it raises the heart rate to get more oxygen to the extremities, which then prepares them to process what’s known as the fight or flight response. Scientists have warned of the relationship between stress and heart rate, so if you want to lower your heart rate you must control your stress levels.

There’s no magic recipe for reducing stress, although identifying the catalyst for this is the starting point. By knowing what causes you stress, you can devise a plan to avoid exposing yourself to these situations, or in any case, know how to control yourself when the time comes. Yoga, meditation, massages, and relaxing habits can also be useful for this.

4. Avoid the intake of stimulants

Stimulants include coffee, tobacco, recreational drugs, and alcohol. It’s no secret that all of these stimulate the heart rate, and their effects can remain in the body for hours or even days after ingestion. Reduce or eliminate these stimulants, as well as others that are part of your regular diet. For example, energy drinks or sodas.

5. Listen to relaxing music

A connection has been found between relaxing music and low heart rate. We won’t tell you what kind of music to listen to, but in general, anything that gives you a sense of relief is welcome. If you can, choose to listen to it with speakers, so that the sound isn’t concentrated only in your ears through headphones.

6. Increase your fish intake

A study published in Circulation in 2003 found that regular consumption of fish is associated with a reduction in heart rate. You can include other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as nuts and grains, in your diet. Other groups like vitamin A, vitamin C, and dietary fiber contribute to your heart health.

It’s also important to control your sodium intake. Sodium can raise your blood pressure, which in turn can increase your heart rate. The suggestions for the adult population of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are 2300 milligrams of sodium per day. That is, a teaspoon of table salt distributed in all the foods you eat during the day.

7. Get enough sleep

A woman sleeping peacefully in bed.
Healthy lifestyle habits significantly improve cardiovascular health. Sleeping well is essential to controlling your heart rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn of the impact between sleep and heart health. Lack of sleep can increase your stress levels and blood pressure, and increase the likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes. As a rule, try to sleep between 7 and 8 hours every day, always without interruption.

8. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight and obese forces the heart to work harder. This results, among other things, in an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your heart rate, so refer to your body mass index to make sure your weight falls within healthy limits.

9. Drink plenty of fluids during the day

There’s evidence that drinking water can reduce the load and stress to which the heart is exposed. When a person is dehydrated, there’s less blood circulating in the torrent, and the blood is also thicker. As a consequence, the heart must beat faster with the intention of maintaining the supply of oxygenated blood to the different parts of the body.

Regularly drink an average of 2 liters of water during the day. Increase your intake during the summer and if you do outdoor activities or physical exertion. Pay attention to the color of your urine and to symptoms such as dry mouth, dizziness, or muscle cramps as indicators that you’re not drinking enough water.

We reiterate that the heart rate isn’t constant. Therefore, in the morning and afternoon, it varies even when you’re resting. Don’t obsess over this and try to apply the tips listed permanently. If your heart rate is higher than normal, don’t hesitate to consult a specialist.

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