How To Lower Heart Rate

How To Lower Heart Rate
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: How to Lower Your Heart Rate. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

You can check your heart rate at your wrist. Lightly place your second and third fingers of one hand on the inside of your other wrist, below the base of your thumb. You should feel your pulse under your fingertips. Count the number of beats in one minute. Repeat to make sure you get a consistent reading.

How to Lower Your Heart Rate

Your heart rate gives a glimpse of your overall health and helps you spot potential health problems. You might think your heart ticks like clockwork, but how fast it beats changes throughout the day. It goes faster when you exercise or are nervous. It slows down when you’re relaxed or sitting still.

Your Resting Heart Rate

Also known as your pulse, this is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest. For adults, the normal range is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

A resting heart rate varies from person to person. It depends on things like:

Even emotions, temperature, and humidity outside can affect your pulse rate.

A lower resting heart rate is usually better when it comes to your health. It’s typically a sign your heart is working well. When it’s lower, your heart pumps more blood with each contraction and easily keeps a regular beat.

On the flip side, a high resting heart rate may mean your heart works extra hard to pump blood. If your pulse is consistently more than 100 beats per minute at rest, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Over time, a high resting heart rate may affect how your heart works. A high rate can also raise your chances of cardiovascular disease.

A slower than normal pulse is common in people who are physically fit. If your resting heart rate is regularly below 60 beats per minute but you’re not active, see your doctor, especially if you feel dizzy or short of breath.

How to Measure Your Heart Rate

The best time to measure your pulse is in the morning, before you get out of bed and before you’ve had your morning coffee or tea.

You can check your heart rate at your wrist. Lightly place your second and third fingers of one hand on the inside of your other wrist, below the base of your thumb. You should feel your pulse under your fingertips. Count the number of beats in one minute. Repeat to make sure you get a consistent reading.

Lowering Your Heart Rate

There are several ways you can do this to help your heart stay healthy:

Exercise. Physical activity strengthens your heart just like other muscles in your body. It trains your heart to be more efficient so it doesn’t work as hard when you’re at rest. A walk, bicycle ride, or yoga class can all help.

Quit smoking.Smoking causes your arteries and veins to get smaller. This can lead to a higher heart rate. Nixing tobacco products can bring your pulse down to a healthier level.

Relax.Stress can send hormones like adrenaline and cortisol racing through your blood, which can raise your heart rate. Things like meditation and yoga can help lower stress levels. Over the long term, they can lower your resting heart rate, too.

Eat more fish. A healthy diet is the cornerstone of heart health. In addition to fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, add fish to your menu. Eating it regularly can help lower your heart rate.

When Your Heart Rate Spikes

Sometimes, your pulse might jump up for a little while. Most of the time, your heart will slow down naturally. If not, or if it happens regularly, get medical help right away. A doctor may suggest one of the following.

Vagal maneuvers: These physical actions can reset your heart rate. For example, hold your nose and breathe out of your mouth. It’s similar to when you want to pop your ears when you’re on an airplane. Or you can put your face in ice-cold water for several seconds or cough forcefully.

Medication: Your doctor may prescribe it to help treat an abnormal heart rate. Things like beta-blockers may help prevent future episodes.

Pacemaker: This small device can sense a rapid heartbeat. When it does, it sends an electrical signal and helps the heart return to normal. Your doctor would implant it under your skin.

Catheter ablation: Sometimes the cause of your racing pulse may be an extra electrical pathway in the heart. Your doctor would perform this procedure, which makes it so the extra circuit no longer sends signals. It doesn’t require surgery. Usually, this is suggested only when medicines don’t work.

Show Sources

American Heart Association: “Know your target heart rates of exercise, losing weight and health,” “Tachycardia: Fast Heart Rate,” “Ablation for Arrhythmias.”

CDC: “Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking.”

Circulation: “Fish Consumption is Associated with Lower Heart Rates.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Your resting heart rate can reflect your current — and future – health.”

Heart: “Elevated resting heart rate, physical fitness and all-cause mortality: a 16-year follow-up in the Copenhagen Male Study.”

The Heart Foundation: “Your Heart Rate.”

JAMA: “Temporal Changes in Resting Heart Rate and Deaths From Ischemic Heart Disease.”

Mayo Clinic: “Bradycardia,” “Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease,” “Tachycardia,”

“What’s a normal resting heart rate?”

Plos ONE: “Web-based Mindfulness Intervention in Heart Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”

How to Lower Your Heart Rate

Someone wearing gym gear checks their heart rate using a smartphone.

Your heart rate climbs and dips depending on what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and what’s happening around you.

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But your resting heart rate is your baseline pulse. It’s a measure of how fast your heart beats when you’re completely at rest — sitting, sleeping or relaxing on the couch while binge-watching your favorite sitcom.

Resting heart rate can vary from person to person and day to day. But a high resting heart rate can be a red flag. “It’s usually a sign that something else is going on in the body,” says cardiologist Tamanna Singh, MD

Here’s what you can do to bring that number down.

How to lower your resting heart rate

How can you dial down a resting heart rate? The following lifestyle changes can boost heart health and lower your pulse.

Get moving

The most common cause of a high resting heart rate is a sedentary lifestyle, where you spend a lot of time not moving. The No. 1 way to lower your resting heart rate into a healthier range? Exercise, says Dr. Singh.

“The more you exercise, the stronger your heart becomes,” notes Dr. Singh. “Since it’s pumping more blood with each beat, it won’t need to pump as hard — which will lower your heart rate.”

To give your heart a healthy workout, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity.

Exercise brings other benefits, too, of course, as being in poor shape can increase the risk of problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain.

Manage stress

Anxiety and stress can elevate the heart rate, too. To help bring it down, try to bring calm to your day.

“Practice mindfulness,” says Dr. Singh. “Try to meditate or do breathing exercises.”

Avoid caffeine and nicotine

There’s a reason why caffeine and cigarettes qualify as stimulants: “Both can drive your heart rate up,” says Dr. Singh.

Cutting back — or cutting them out entirely — may help lower your resting heart rate. (A dietitian has some advice about scaling back caffeine consumption. Want to quit smoking? Here are some tips from an integrative medicine physician.)

Maintain a healthy weight

Dropping a few pounds and getting leaner can help bring down your heart rate. “The more weight you carry, the harder your body has to work to move blood through the body — especially if you don’t have a lot of muscle mass,” says Dr. Singh.

Embracing good nutrition and regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Plus, they’re good for your overall heart health. Consider it a win-win.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water makes your heart’s job easier. Dehydration can cause the blood to thicken, which means your ticker has to work harder to push blood around. So wet your whistle to give your heart a break and lower resting heart rate.

Try to avoid alcohol, too, as it can contribute to dehydration. (Alcohol also can boost heart rate, by the way.)

Sleep well

If you’re regularly short on shut-eye, it’s hard on the heart. Get plenty of sleep to help keep your heart (and the rest of you) healthy.

Healthy heart rates

In general, a slower resting heart rate is a sign of good health. Some athletes and people who are very active even have heart rates that dip below 60 when they’re at rest.

There’s no one number that’s best, though. However, if you notice your heart rate is consistently over 100 — especially if you’ve tried making lifestyle changes — it’s worth mentioning it to your doctor, says Dr. Singh.

A high resting heart rate can be an indicator of problems such as:

  • Poor physical condition.
  • Anemia.
  • Dehydration.
  • Infections.
  • Thyroid problems.

How long does it take to lower your heart rate?

Plan to be patient. It can take a few months before a new exercise routine or other lifestyle changes affect heart rate. “Just like building your biceps and triceps, it takes time for your heart to become stronger,” notes Dr. Singh.

Focus on heart rate patterns rather than getting hung up on a specific number, too. Look for trends. For instance, how does your heart rate change after you eat certain foods or if you’re dehydrated? Or did it drop after starting a new exercise routine or stress reduction program?

Those trends will point you (and your heart) toward healthier choices. “Resting heart rate isn’t the end-all be-all,” Dr. Singh adds, “but it’s a marker you should pay attention to.”

Measuring your resting heart rate

A normal resting heart rate is typically between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

The best time to measure your pulse is right after you wake up when you’re still in bed. Place a finger on the side of your neck or against your wrist until you feel your pulse. Then count the number of beats in 60 seconds.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

How do you lower your resting heart rate?

A rapid heart rate can indicate a health problem. Ways of lowering the heart rate include breathing and relaxation techniques, exercise, vagal maneuvers, dietary choices, and stress management.

This article will explain how to measure a person’s resting heart rate. It will also discuss the ideal range for someone’s heart rate, explain what causes differences in heart rate, and provide tips to lower the heart rate immediately and in the long term.

a woman wearing a green visor and blue jacket is checking a sports watch

A person’s heart rate may suddenly spike in response to factors such as emotional stress or things in their environment. Addressing these causes is the best way to reduce the heart rate in these situations.

Ways to reduce sudden changes in heart rate include:

  • practicing deep or guided breathing techniques, such as box breathing
  • relaxing and trying to remain calm
  • going for a walk, ideally away from an urban environment
  • taking a warm, relaxing bath or shower
  • practicing stretching and relaxation exercises, such as yoga
  • performing vagal maneuvers

It is also possible for people to lower their heart rate in the long term. Many lifestyle habits can contribute to this. This can affect the heart rate during physical activity or periods of stress.

Some factors that may lower a person’s heart rate include:


The easiest and most effective way to achieve a lasting lower heart rate is to do regular exercise. For example, a 2018 meta-analysis found that regular exercise could consistently lower resting heart rate. Although any kind of exercise can be helpful, the authors suggest that yoga and endurance training may be the most beneficial.

Staying hydrated

When the body is dehydrated, the heart has to work harder to stabilize blood flow. A 2017 study found that a 335-milliliter drink of water could reduce resting heart rate over a 30-minute period. This decline continued for another 30 minutes. Drinking plenty of beverages throughout the day could lower a person’s heart rate.

Limiting intake of stimulants

Stimulants can cause dehydration, increasing the heart’s workload. For example, there is evidence that high doses of caffeine can lead to dehydration. However, there is no reliable scientific evidence that typical tea or coffee consumption can cause an increased resting heart rate through dehydration.

Limiting alcohol intake

There is evidence that drinking alcohol could cause dehydration, although more research is still necessary on this topic. However, it remains possible that alcohol consumption could increase resting heart rate.

Alcohol is also a toxin, and the body must work harder to process and remove it. This may sometimes result in heart rate increases.

Eating a nutritious, balanced diet

Eating a healthful diet can improve heart health and functioning. This diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Foods and supplements rich in antioxidants and healthy fats may lower blood pressure, making it easier for the heart to pump blood.

For example, a 2021 study concluded that the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid effectively lowers blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods also lower blood pressure by reducing sodium load.

Scientists know that a wide variety of foods may promote good heart health. Heart-healthy nutrients include:

  • omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts, and grains
  • polyphenols and tannins from tea and coffee
  • vitamin A from leafy, green vegetables
  • dietary fiber from whole grains, nuts, and most fruits and vegetables
  • vitamin C from citrus and other fruits and leafy greens

Getting enough sleep

A chronic lack of sleep puts stress on the whole body, including the heart. A 2020 study found that when people deviate from their usual bedtimes, it increases their resting heart rates.

Maintaining a healthy body weight

Extra weight also puts stress on the body and heart. It is possible that this could lead to an increased heart rate. For example, extra weight could make exercise more challenging.

However, scientific evidence suggests that body weight is a poor predictor of heart rate.

Reducing or resolving sources of substantial long-term stress

Stress from work, caring for a loved one, or financial burdens all cause the heart and body to work harder to maintain its usual rhythm. For example, a 2018 review concluded that work-related stress is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Seeking counseling or psychological service

People cannot always resolve stressful situations and life events on their own. Traumatic experiences, grief, and certain mental health conditions stress the body, making it harder for people to cope with everyday activities. In these cases, counseling and therapy may be helpful.

Getting outdoors

Some techniques for lowering heart rate can involve changing environments. For example, research in 2018 shows that spending time in less urbanized settings can reduce the physical and psychological measures of stress. This could be as simple as a trip to the local park.

Practicing relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques may also have a positive effect on stress. However, a 2019 meta-analysis noted that many studies on this topic have been of poor quality. The authors still highlight the possibility that meditation could improve psychological well-being but that more research is necessary on the topic.

A lower heart rate allows the heart to maintain a healthful rhythm and efficiently respond to stressors. A paper from 2015 suggests that high heart rates may contribute to health risks, including:

  • increased blood pressure
  • changes to protein activity in the heart
  • changes to calcium usage by heart cells
  • inflammation and oxidative stress
  • blood vessel dysfunction

Research in 2021 suggests that people with persistent higher heart rates are at a greater risk of certain health conditions that include:

  • organ system failure
  • cardiomyopathy
  • myocardial ischemia
  • decreased cardiac output, which may cause persistent fatigue
  • cardiac arrest

The heart rate varies. Many factors contribute to a changing heart rate, including:

  • physical activity
  • time of day
  • age
  • weather
  • hormonal changes
  • emotional stress

A healthy resting heart rate will vary from person to person. For most people, a target resting heart rate should be between 60–100 beats per minute (bpm) .

A person can calculate their maximum heart rate by subtracting their age in years from 220. A healthful heart rate range is usually 50–70% of this maximum during moderate exercise.

During strenuous activity, the healthful range will be 70–85% of the maximum heart rate.

Average heart rate ranges during activity are:

Age in years Target heart rate Average maximum heart rate
20 100–170 bpm 200 bpm
30 95–162 bpm 190 bpm
40 93–157 bpm 185 bpm
45 90–153 bpm 175 bpm
50 88–149 bpm 170 bpm
55 85–145 bpm 165 bpm
60 83–140 bpm 160 bpm
65 80–136 bpm 155 bpm
70 75–128 bpm 150 bpm

An easy way to check the pulse is by placing the index and middle finger side-by-side on the neck, below the edge of the jawbone, and then counting how many heartbeats occur within 60 seconds.

It is best to measure the pulse after periods of rest. For this reason, a person should ideally count their heartbeats first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.

As a 2021 review explains, each heartbeat arises from specialized muscle cells called myocytes. When these cells need more oxygen, the brain sends messages to the heart that strengthen the myocytes and cause more frequent pulses.

A 2019 study highlights several health conditions that make people likelier to have a higher heart rate, such as:

  • asthma
  • sleep apnea
  • anemia
  • thyroid disease
  • infection
  • stroke
  • coronary artery disease
  • heart attack
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • arrhythmia
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • peripheral vascular disease

An elevated heart rate is typically a natural physical response to environmental or other stressors. However, a resting heart rate that is high for long periods can signal an underlying medical condition.

If someone’s average heart rate is unusually high because of an underlying medical condition, medical interventions may be necessary. As a 2021 review explains, beta-blockers have the power to reduce heart rate. Doctors may prescribe beta-blockers to treat a variety of conditions, such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart attacks
  • coronary artery disease
  • glaucoma
  • congestive heart failure
  • arrhythmias

In some circumstances, it is necessary to contact a doctor about a higher heart rate. These include if:

  • There is no obvious cause for the increased heart rate.
  • The increased heart rate is accompanied by other changes, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, blurry vision, or faintness.
  • The increased heart rate continues for long periods, even while at rest.

A doctor should evaluate the thyroid, electrolytes, and blood counts. They may want to do other tests before they decide that a high heart rate is no cause for concern. That’s why it is always a good idea to contact a physician if a person meets any of these criteria.

Changes in heart rate happen naturally throughout the day. Resting heart rate is a sign of the heart’s health.

A consistently high heart rate may indicate health issues and could lead to negative outcomes.

However, many people are able to lower their resting heart rate through lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Last medically reviewed on December 22, 2021

  • Heart Disease
  • Vascular
  • Cardiovascular / Cardiology

How we reviewed this article:

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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How To Lower Heart Rate

Medically reviewed by Dr. Payal Kohli, M.D., FACC — By Jennifer Huizen and Mathieu Rees — Updated on Jan 3, 2023

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© 2004-2023 Healthline Media UK Ltd, Brighton, UK, a Red Ventures Company. All rights reserved. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. See additional information.