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.
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:
omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts, and grains
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