How To Lower Resting Heart Rate: Increasing Heart Health
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Your resting heart rate can be a sign of many things, and the usual range is anywhere between 60 beats per minute (BPM) and 90 beats per minute.
According to Harvard(1) many factors can increase your resting heart rates, such as aging, stress, medical conditions, and medications.
Overall, however, a healthy heart rate is suggested to be more beneficial to your health over time so, how do you lower your resting heart rate?
You have a few ways to go about lowering your resting heart rate, such as exercising more (cardio), reducing your stress, avoiding tobacco products, and even losing weight as needed.
You don’t necessarily need to see a doctor to keep track of your resting heart rate, and any of these potential tips could help you lower your heart rate.
Each of these different tips can help you lower your resting heart rate depending on the cause of your heart rate being elevated even at rest.
For example, even if you work out regularly and don’t smoke tobacco, anxiety, and stress can still elevate your heart rate.
This should be considered while you are finding a solution to your resting heart rate. The following are some tips to help you lower your resting heart rate.
How Long Does it Take To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate?
Depending on the cause of your elevated heart rate, this can have slightly different answers. If you are changing your lifestyle to work out more frequently, this may take a bit longer.
Your heart needs to be strengthened through exercise, much like any other muscle, so that it can efficiently pump blood through your body.
This strengthening of your heart doesn’t happen overnight and could take months to start seeing real changes in your resting heart rate.
Over time, a healthy diet, limited caffeine and alcohol consumption, a good sleep schedule, and a healthy exercise schedule will lower your resting heart rate.
Another key to helping you gauge the progress of your heart rate is how quickly it can return to a normal rate for you after your more high-intensity exercise.Healthline
A healthy diet also helps you lower your resting heart rate, and it’s shown that eating fish is linked with a lower heart rate in the European men studied.
Fish is shown to be an essential factor in lowering heart rate even when it’s adjusted to account for the physical activity of the individual, smoking habits, age, and several other factors.
How Much Does Exercise Lower Your Heart Rate
Multiple NIH studies(2) have proven that multiple types of exercise find a significant decrease in the resting heart rate of the participants.
Compared to the control groups of people who do not work out there is an average difference of -3.3 beats per minute.
These statistics change depending on the gender of the individual, for -3.4 beats per minute for studies that only took female participants and -4.3 beats per minute for studies that took only male participants.
These studies also showed that endurance training, yoga, strength training, and a combination of both endurance and strength training had a noticeable impact on the lowering of the heart rate in individuals.
This makes it incredibly clear that exercise is an essential aspect of lowering the individual’s heart rate.
As studies have proven through exercise and endurance training, you can strengthen your heart and thus help it not to need to put so much effort into getting your blood circulated throughout your body.
As such, by doing regular exercise alone, you can lower your heart rate.
On average, a male athlete between the ages of 26 and 35 has a resting heart rate of 49 to 55 beats per minute.
The average heart rate for the same age group, by comparison, is anywhere between 71 and 74 beats per minute.
This is only looking at taking into consideration an athlete’s heart rate and average heart rate, but what is considered “excellent” for the same age group is 55 to 61 beats per minute.
Every age group has a different expectation, and the older you get the more your heart speeds up to be able to do its job effectively.
For consideration of older age demographics, an athlete in the age range of 56 to 65 years old has a slightly different range.
The athlete’s average resting beat per minute in this age range, for example, is 51 to 56 beats per minute, and the average resting heart rate for the same age group is 72 to 75 beats per minute.
Women of the same two age groups’ numbers also look a little different, for 36 to 35 that number looks more like 54 to 59 beats per minute for an athlete resting heart rate, and an average resting heart rate of 73 to 76 beats per minute.
For a 56 to 65-year-old, by contrast, the athlete resting heart rate sits somewhere between 54 to 59 beats per minute, with the average resting heart rate being between 74 to 77 beats per minute.
These numbers are further proof that exercise is an essential part of lowering your heart rate and ensuring your heart’s health.
A woman’s heart is, on average smaller than the male heart and thus needs a few more beats per minute to do its job effectively. These numbers are according to data from the CDC.
How Much Does Running Lower Your Heart Rate
Unsurprisingly, any form of cardio workout is incredibly good for the health of your heart and it helps your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body.
This includes running, as it is actually incredibly high on the cardio workout list. While strength training does make your heart stronger, it’s actually cardio that does most of the work to get your heart in a healthy efficient position to regulate your blood flow.
Evidence supports the idea that interval training is an incredibly effective way to help lower your resting heart rate.
This means alternating between high-intensity workouts and lower-intensity workouts.
You don’t need to be inside to work on interval training either, and you could take it outside and either run a high-intensity sprint up a hill or a higher endurance hike on a trail.
However, cardio machines, biking, and indoor steppers work just fine in getting your cardio workout up to par for strengthening your heart.
While training and strengthening your heart rate, you want to keep an eye on your heart rate to ensure that you’re not unnecessarily overexerting yourself.
On average, you shouldn’t be working at 100% of your maximum heart rate; instead, a safe maximum heart rate to work in is 220 beats per minute, minus your age.
Keeping an eye on this range can help you know when you should potentially work a little harder and pick up the pace to reach the goal heart rate.
As well, it can also help you to know when you’re overdoing it and when you should slow down.
Keeping some kind of heart monitor on you is an incredibly helpful tool for keeping track of your heart rate while you’re working out.
Everyone’s average running heart rate will be different because it is so frequently influenced by age, fitness level, air temperature, medication use, stress, or anxiety brought into the workout.
However, being self-aware while you’re working out and keeping a close eye on your heart rate through your phone application or a separate heart monitor can help you ensure that you’re working yourself at a proper level.
Does Weight Lifting Lower Resting Heart Rate?
The simple answer is yes, but weightlifting is actually incredibly good for the health of your heart in general.
Not only does it help strengthen your heart to be able to lower your resting heart rate, but an hour of weight training a day can also lower your risk of having a stroke or a heart attack by 40 to 70 percent.
As your heart grows in strength with your training, your heart rate will begin to go down, and it will also help lower your blood pressure in the process as well.
Weight training is actually used to help in cardiac rehabilitation and preventative medicine by many clinicians.
It has a profound effect on the strength of your heart and helps you lower your risk of cardiovascular disease while lowering your heart rate as well.
If properly done, weight training can help you strengthen your cardiovascular system along with your muscular system.
It’s recommended that you weight train in intervals three to five times a week for around 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity training, or two to three times for 15 to 20 minutes of high-intensity training.
When your muscles are stronger, this means that there is less of a demand on your heart.
Additionally, there is less demand on your lungs, as they can process more oxygen while using less effort.
Of course, it also helps your heart need to beat fewer beats per minute while helping the blood supply be directed to your muscles more.
Training in weights and strength is an incredible preventative workout that gives you many health benefits.
Strength training helps you prevent obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
Obesity, additionally, has a hand on your heart rate, so overall weight training’s impact on your heart is incredibly beneficial.
Additionally, weight training and strength training can help you improve your general endurance, flexibility, balance, and coordination, and it even helps your recovery from an injury much quicker as well.
Why Do Athletes Have Lower Resting Heart Rate
Athletes have a lower resting heart rate for many reasons. As we previously stated above, the biggest causes of high heart rates are obesity, stress, and even just being out of shape in general.
Working out and participating in regular physical activity is incredibly beneficial to your cardiovascular health in general.
Whether it be weight training or running, being an athlete of any kind helps strengthen the muscles in your body, gives you higher stamina, and lowers your resting heart rate by a significant amount of beats per minute.
Because athletes often keep to regular workout schedules and routines that are a good combination of interval training, weight training, and healthy eating, they are always helping their hearts stay stronger.
A stronger heart will not need to work nearly as hard as an average heart to get the blood in the body to circulate around the body effectively.
A healthy lifestyle of positive habits that reduce stress and anxiety levels includes healthy eating habits and self-aware training regimens that can help athletes reduce their resting heart rates.
The heart is an incredibly strong muscle in the body, and training it to be able to handle more with less energy is a big part of cardio training like running, biking, and swimming, along with weight training that prevents cardiovascular disease and lowers heart rates.
To the general public, the resting heart rate of an athlete may be considered low, but because they put so much effort into the well-being of their body, stamina, and cardiovascular health, it should be no surprise.
With a well trained and healthy heart, a single heartbeat can pump more blood than the average heart.Healthline
An athlete’s resting heart rate is considered too low only when they have worrisome symptoms, along with a lower heart rate. These symptoms can include but aren’t limited to, fatigue, weakness, and dizziness.
Usually, a lower heart rate causing these kinds of symptoms is actually indicative of another issue in the heart or body, and shouldn’t be considered normal.
An athlete experiencing these symptoms should go and seek medical attention.
There is another condition called “athletic heart syndrome,” which is usually considered relatively harmless.
It usually comes up in athletes who exercise for more than an hour each day, and when their resting heart rate is 35 to 50 beats per minute, they could develop arrhythmia, which is essentially just an irregular heart rhythm.
These abnormal beats and irregular rhythms do show up on electrocardiograms. Still, because they don’t cause any health problems, there is rarely a need to diagnose this syndrome in an athlete.
If an athlete does collapse because of a heart-related problem, it is not athletic heart syndrome; instead, it is often a condition that is called congenital heart disease.
If you experience symptoms like chest pain, irregular measured heart rate, or fainting during a workout, you should let a doctor know to be safe.
Again, however, athletes who develop an irregular heart rate because of athletic heart syndrome don’t often present other issues later in life, and it causes no serious health defects that are known.
It is just an irregular heartbeat in someone who works out for more than an hour a day.
What Does Lower Resting Heart Rate Mean
A lower resting heart rate generally means that an individual is of better cardiovascular fitness and that your heart is in good health and strength.
A lower resting heart rate is actually considered a really good measure of how in shape and fit someone is because it is something that is gained through fitness training like running and weight training.
Though a heart rate can be elevated for many reasons, a resting heart rate being lower is a good sign, instead of a good fit in the individual with a lower heart rate.
All it means is that the heart is strong enough to be able to do more and pump more blood around the body with less effort and beats within the heart.
Final Thoughts on How To Lower Your Resting Heart Rate
Lowering your heart rate is a tell-tale sign that you are fit and healthy. It may seem like a small indication, but in reality, working to lower your resting heart rate really means that you’re helping your body gain strength in an incredibly vital muscle.
Working out in cardio or weight training provides incredible preventative benefits to stay healthy for longer and do in no small part because of the strength you are training in your cardiovascular system.
There can be a lot of reasons you have a higher resting heart rate, from a medical condition to diabetes, smoking, caffeine, and stress.
However, this does not mean that you don’t have to be concerned about having a higher resting heart rate, because this means that your heart has to work much harder to do its job of pumping blood throughout your body.
If you want to lower your resting heart rate, consider getting a heart monitor, making yourself a well-balanced workout schedule, and pairing it with a good diet.
There is enough professional knowledge as to what heart rate you should be working out in, as well as how to safely work out with realistic goals for each individual based on their medical history and habits.
It may take some endurance, time, and patients, but it would be doing your body a great service and helping you live a longer, healthier life.
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