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  • Writer's pictureDmitri Konash

How to Lower Heart Rate Immediately & Long Term


Learn how to lower your heart rate immediately and long term

What is a normal heart rate (HR)? How can you lower heart rate (HR)?  How to improve resting heart rate?  I was forced to educate  myself  on  these topics in my mid forties as I got  overwhelmed with work related stress.  

Things looked quite normal on the surface: stable and well paying job, loving family, caring friends. Under the surface however negative things were brewing: constant irritation at work and at home, sleepless nights, permanent tiredness. I figured out that the stress was driving up my anxiety and anxiety has a major impact on heart rate. 

Why do you need to track your heart rate regularly?  

I was lucky to meet a  good doctor who explained to me that I was suffering from anxiety and high blood pressure linked to my work stress. A condition which affects millions.  This doctor brought  up convincing examples from his practice explaining that medications may help me with alleviating the negative symptoms but they will not fix the problem. If left unchecked, anxiety can transform into a chronic condition and lead to serious health issues. 

Hence I should not only closely monitor my blood pressure but also keep a detailed log of heart rate changes. I’ve written before about the importance of taking blood pressure readings twice per day. This post focuses primarily on how and why anyone who is concerned about  anxiety and stress should also measure and log their heart rate and HRV (Heart Rate Variability).  These two parameters are an objective way to measure anxiety at home.

What is a normal heart rate? 

There is a generally accepted table which shows whether your blood pressure is normal or you have a hypertension of different levels [1]. The same table works for any adult.  However things work differently when it comes to heart rate. 

The guidance from the American Heart Association for normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute [2]. Which is a broad range. They also make an important statement which is generally accepted by doctors all over the world: “When it comes to resting heart rate, lower is better”. 

There is a good reason why the range for ‘normal’ heart rate is so broad. The factors which impact normal heart rate most are genetics, age and general state of the cardiovascular system. However the health conditions of two people of similar age with an average daily resting heart rate of 70 beats per minute (BPMs) may vary hugely: one may be quite healthy and well and another may require medical attention. What matters a lot is the dynamics of your heart rate and also the link with a second metric: HRV. 

What can you learn from tracking your resting heart rate? 

There are several important heart health risks which can be identified by tracking heart rate on a daily basis.
  • Resting heart rate gradually trending up over months may be an indication  that the status of your cardiovascular system is deteriorating or you may be under chronic stress. On the other hand, if the long term trend for HR is down, it means that your exercise program is producing positive results.

  • Sudden spike in resting heart rate from one day to another may indicate that your body is fighting an infection. It also may be an indication that you are having a panic attack.

  • Permanent monitoring of resting heart rate by medical grade devices and some smartwatches (i.e. Apple Health) can help to identify an arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). 


One of the  most common arrhythmias is called Atrial Fibrillation (or AFib). AFib requires medical attention. If left unchecked it may cause a stroke or heart failure. 

Why should I try to lower heart beat? 

As mentioned above lower heart is generally a positive signal of heart health. Resting heart rate  is strongly linked to heart health risks. Here is the summary of the 10 year follow up study in Norway [3]
  • 29,000 participants without any cardiovascular disease (CVD)

  • Baseline: resting heart rate (RHR) below 70 BPMs during 10 years of follow up

  • 90% higher mortality risk in the group where RHR increased from 70 to 85 BPMs during the study period of 10 years 

This means that tracking your resting heart rate is critically important for your heart health. 

What is HRV and why is it complementary to heart rate? 

HRV is a measure of the variation in length between heart beats. It can be detected by ECG machines, smartwatches and apps
  1. Indicates Total Life Stress (TLS) including physical stress, emotional stress (anxiety), illness, quality of sleep, alcohol impact, etc

  2. Higher HRV translates into lower TLS

  3. Absolute numbers are unique for every individual, the critical element is how HRV changes from day to day


How do I objectively measure anxiety at home using heart rate? 

Short answer: monitor both heart rate (HR)  and HRV (Heart Rate Variability) daily. You can measure both these metrics for free with your phone’s camera and our blood pressure app BreathNow. You can also measure and track other important heart health metrics with the BreathNow app for FREE: cardio fitness (VO2max), AFib (requires Apple Watch), Blood Oxygen Saturation (requires Apple Watch). 

The HR graph below shows that my resting heart rate was fairly constant during the month of January. The inverted HRV graph (a proxy of anxiety and stress)  indicates two stressful periods: in the beginning of January and also around the 20th of January. This demonstrates that HRV is a more sensitive indicator of anxiety which should be used as a prevention indicator. 

Measure heart rate with BreathNow app


Measure HRV with BreathNow app

How to lower the heartbeat with the BreathNow method

BreathNow method to lower anxiety and heart rate is a balanced combination of scientifically proven techniques: 
  • Relaxation techniques (slow breathing, meditation, yoga, etc) 

  • Exercises (aerobic and short High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • Nutrition changes. 

The effectiveness of the BreathNow method is proven by hundreds of positive feedbacks from our YouTube audience and BreathNow app users. We cooperate with the scientists from the University of Cambridge (UK) and jointly developed a 5 min home test which estimates user’s cardio fitness (VO2max). Try our new course on Udemy which will help you to lower anxiety and heart rate both immediately (to shorten a panic attack) and also long term to avoid developing an anxiety syndrome. 

Heart rate checklist: when to call a doctor
  1. Sudden acceleration of heart rate, irregular heartbeat in the absence of exercise? 

  2. Call your doctor to rule out a heart attack or get emergency treatment. Only  medical professionals with special equipment can diagnose them

  3. Is your resting heart rate usually above 100 beats per minute? 

  4. Call your doctor, you may have a tachycardia. It requires medical treatment

  5. Have you been diagnosed with AFib, anxiety disorder or panic disorder? 

  6. Seek medical treatment from medical professionals

  7. Discuss with your doctor how the BreathNow method of lifestyle changes may be integrated in your overall treatment plan

  8. Anxiety, stress or occasional panic attacks accompanied by increased heart rate disrupt your normal life?

  9. Explore the BreathNow method

  10. If in doubt - call your doctor. 

References.
  1. Understanding blood pressure readings, American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings

  2. Temporal Changes in Resting Heart Rate and Deaths From Ischemic Heart Disease, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1104748

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