Heart rate is the number of times our heartbeats per minute. A normal heart rate varies from person to person, but a normal adult resting heart rate is usually about 60-100 bpm. During rest, our heartbeat will slow down. With exercise, it will beat faster. Knowing our heart rate can help us spot health problems.
Factors that influence the heart rate:
Common causes for an elevated pulse/tachycardia:
- Cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes
- Heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure
- Poor blood supply to the myocardium due to coronary artery disease
- Thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism)
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Smoking and alcohol use
- Emotional stress
- Being obese or overweight
- Body’s temperature
- Caffeine, drugs, and nutritional and herbal Supplements
- Medications such as thyroid medications may increase the heart rate
Common causes for a low pulse/bradycardia:
- Infection (myocarditis)
- Complication of heart surgery
- Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatic fever
Your heart rate may temporarily spike due to nervousness, stress, dehydration, or overexertion. Sitting down, drinking water, and taking slow, deep breaths can generally lower your heart rate. To lower your heart rate in the long term, stick to healthy lifestyle habits listed below:
- In the long term, exercising is the easiest and most effective way to lower your heart rate.
- Exercising 30 minutes every day will gradually slow your heart rate.
- However, beware of pushing yourself too hard too often.
- If you are short of breath, are in pain, or can’t work out as long as you’d planned, slow down and gradually build up the intensity of your exercise.
- Always talk to your doctor before starting a gym or a particular fitness protocol if you are above 35 years of age.
- Relaxation methods such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, and other stress-busting techniques can lower the resting heart rate over time.
- Avoid tobacco products:
- Smokers have higher resting heart rates. Quitting brings it back down.
- The larger the body, the more the heart must work to supply it with blood.
- Losing weight can help slow an elevated heart rate.
Monitoring your heart rate is important. Your heartbeat serves as a reliable indicator of your fitness level and overall health. It can easily be determined with your own fingers or a smartwatch. Contact a medical professional if you are concerned that you don’t have a normal heart rate. If you have a pulse lower than 50 bpm or higher than 100 bpm, visit a doctor for proper health checkup.