10 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Resting Heart Rate
Keeping a good resting heart rate is extremely important for long-term health, and there are many ways to maintain a healthy resting heart rate, including intense cardio exercises, getting healthy sleep, indulging in massages, adding fish oil to your diet, urinating regularly, quitting smoking, lowering stress, and many more!
Healthy Resting Heart Rate
When we exercise or exert ourselves, our heart rate rises. The same thing happens when we are in stressful situations, when we get excited, or when we see that special someone. While elevated heart rates are normal in some circumstances, it is important that our resting heart rate remain at a manageable rate. High resting heart rates are good indicators and predictors of heart disease and a variety of other health issues, so keeping your resting heart rate low is very important.
For those who don’t know, your heart rate is measured in beats per minute, and a resting heart rate is your pulse when your body is completely at rest. Imagine sitting in your office, working on something rather peaceful, stress-free, and yet your heart is beating furiously. That is unnecessary strain that can wear down your heart, and also lets you know that something may be seriously wrong with your cardiovascular system.
Fortunately, the importance of a low, balanced resting heart rate is well known, and a significant amount of research has been done on the subject. It is widely understood that resting heart rate tends to elevate as we get older, although genetics and lifestyle also play a major role too.
There are certain medications that can lower your resting heart rate, but that sort of artificial and pharmaceutical manipulation of your system is not recommended, especially because there are many lifestyle and fitness strategies that can help lower it rather easily. Now, let’s take a closer look at 10 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Resting Heart Rate.
10 Surprising Ways to Maintain a Healthy Resting Heart Rate
1. Add Fish Oil to Your Diet: Fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and well known to be beneficial for heart health, can also help you regulate your resting heart rate and keep it nice and low. In fact, fish oil can help the vagus nerve in your heart function more efficiently, keeping resting heart rate lower for longer. Numerous studies have now shown a direct decrease in resting heart rate following a relatively short stint of regular fish oil capsule consumption. You can also add some extra salmon and tuna to your weekly diet.
2. Intense Cardio Workouts: Perhaps the most important aspect of your lifestyle that can lower resting heart rate is regular and intense cardiovascular workouts. By pumping up your heart rate during these exercises, you actually strengthen your parasympathetic nervous system, making it more reactive to your activity and behavior. Therefore, once your exercising is finished, your parasympathetic nervous system is better at recognizing a “resting” state, and helps to keep your resting heart rate lower, as though in preparation for your next exertion. 3-4 workouts per week of 30-40 minutes should be enough to significantly drop your resting heart rate to healthy levels.
3. Go to the Bathroom Regularly: This might seem a bit unusual, but in fact, regular urination and avoiding “holding it in” can lower your resting heart rate. When your bladder is full, it can increase your normal heart rate by as much as 10 bpm. It turns out that when you need to urinate, your sympathetic system activates, constricting blood vessels and driving up blood pressure.
4. Quit Smoking: There are many reasons to quit smoking, but its effects on resting heart rate are particularly important to note. Nicotine is an astringent substance; the “nicotine rush” is a burst of blood pressure as our vessels constrict, driving up heart rate. If you want a lower resting heart rate, stop constricting your blood vessels and ditch the cigarettes once and for all!
5. Reduce Stress: This can be easier said than done, but anything you can do to reduce stressful situations in your life will lower inflammation throughout the body, eliminate the chronic presence of stress hormones in your bloodstream, and lower resting heart rate. Meditation, yoga, tai-chi, and a better organized life can all help to eliminate daily stress and keep your heart rate calm.
6.Get a Massage: Relaxation techniques of any kind are encouraged to reduce resting heart rate, as things like massage or aromatherapy can lower levels of stress hormones in the body. Things like adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine function in your fight-or-flight response, which boosts your heart rate to give you the energy to act. By lowering these chemicals in your system, you can drop your resting heart rate by as much as 8 bpm.
7. Sleep Better: If your sleep is constantly disturbed, either by restlessness or outside stimuli, your heart rate jumps from its sleep state to one of startled consciousness. It can often be hard to get that resting heart rate back down, making it more difficult to get to sleep, causing fatigue and non-restful sleep. It is important that your body gets continuous rest, so do your best to eliminate potential disturbances while you’re getting your shut-eye!
8. Cut Down on Caffeine and Alcohol: Caffeine naturally raises your heart rate to provide that caffeine burst of energy, and can wreak havoc on your natural cycles of rest and activity. Similarly, alcohol has been directly connected not only with other health issues and inflammation in the body, but also with a higher than average resting heart rate. Ease up on the coffee and cut yourself off after a glass of wine or two – no more!
9. Vary Your Exercise: Exercise of any kind is important for improving (lowering) your resting heart rate, but there are ways to make exercise even more effective. Namely, if you are able to switch up your exercises, using different muscle groups, and switching from resistance training and weights to cardio, the effects are even stronger. Your parasympathetic nervous system will have to be even more adaptive if you’re exerting yourself in different ways, making it even better at bringing your heart rate back to a low, healthy level.
10. Lose Weight: Excess weight and obesity can cause a huge amount of stress on your body. The inflammatory effects of adipose tissue alone can cause your resting heart rate to be higher, and excess weight also makes normal activities more difficult, causing a natural strain on the heart, even when you’re not engaged in traditional “physical activity”. Moderating your diet and engaging in a fitness plan can help you lose the weight and keep your resting heart rate low and healthy!