What Decreases & Increases Heart Rate?

Heart rate
Heart rate (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

What Is Normal?

Your resting heart rate is your normal heart rate, and it depends on your age and level of activity. For most adults, the ideal resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute, according to the Mayo Clinic. The lower your resting heart rate is, the healthier your heart is, so professional athletes might have resting heart rates between 40 and 60 beats per minute.

The National Institutes of Health lists the following healthy zones for resting heart rates: Newborns: 100 - 160 beats per minute; children 1 to 10 years: 70 - 120 beats per minute; those 10 and over: 60 - 100 beats per minute; and well-trained athletes: 40 - 60 beats per minute

Newborn (Image: Dean Mitchell/iStock/Getty Images)

What Can Increase Heart Rate

There are a number of temporary things that increase heart rate. Strong emotions like fear, anxiety, embarrassment or anger can increase heart rate just as easily as drinking too much caffeine or stimulants, eating too much sugar or even exercising.

However, if your resting heart rate is above the healthy zone listed above, you may have a condition called tachycardia, which literally means your heart is beating faster than it should at its resting rate. This condition is caused by an abnormality in the heart tissues, but according to the Mayo Clinic it can be treated and controlled.

Another potential reason for increased heart rate can be hypertension, or high blood pressure. It usually develops in adults and can either develop over the years or be caused by an underlying condition. Hypertension is easy to recognize and treat if it is caught early but if left untreated, it can cause a heart attack. Apart from seeking medical attention, changing your diet, reducing stress and exercising more are all excellent ways to help control your heart rate.

Anxiety can increase heart rate
Anxiety can increase heart rate (Image: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

What Decreases Heart Rate?

Some temporary outside factors that decrease heart rate include medications like sedatives.

There are conditions that can cause decreased heart rate such as bradycardia, which happens for reasons similar to tachycardia, or hypotension, or low blood pressure. You can treat and control this condition just as easily as the ones listed above by seeking medical help and altering your diet and lifestyle to include healthier food choices and more exercise.

Exercise (Image: John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

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