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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.

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 wayTrusted Source 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-analysisTrusted Source 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 studyTrusted Source 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 evidenceTrusted Source 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 evidenceTrusted Source 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 knowTrusted Source that a wide variety of foods may promote good heart health. Heart-healthy nutrients include:

Getting enough sleep

A chronic lack of sleep puts stress on the whole body, including the heart. A 2020 studyTrusted Source 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 evidenceTrusted Source 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 reviewTrusted Source 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 2018Trusted Source 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.

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