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What Decreases & Increases Heart Rate?

author image Chris Callaway
Chris Callaway started writing professionally in 2007 and has worked as sports editor, managing editor and senior editor of "The Racquet" as well as written for the "La Crosse Tribune" and other newspapers in western Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts in English and communications.
What Decreases & Increases Heart Rate?
Place your fingers on your wrist or your neck to check your heart rate. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Your resting heart rate is how many times your heart beats in a minute while your body is completely at rest. Your beats per minute will increase as soon as your body becomes active. To strengthen your heart, you need to regularly engage in activities that raise your heart rate for an extended period of time.

Resting Heart Rate

A normal resting heart rate for an adult ranges between 60 and 80 beats per minute, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. To find your heart rate, place your fingers on the side of your wrist or on your neck next to your windpipe until you feel your pulse. Then watch a clock for 10 seconds and count how many times you feel your heart beat. Multiply that number by 6 to find your heart rate.

Fitness Level

If you are in good shape, your heart rate most likely will be lower. Athletes often have resting heart rates of about 40 beats per minute. Also, if you are larger, your heart has to pump more often to push blood throughout your body, so you are likely to have a higher heart rate than a smaller person.

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Activity Level

If you just finished exercising, your heart rate is likely to be higher. Even a simple activity such as standing up can raise your heart rate. To find your true resting heart rate, check it in the morning before you even get out of bed.


Feeling scared, stressed, angry or upset, can trigger a higher heart rate. Taking deep breaths and focusing on something else can help you control a heart rate elevated by emotion.

Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

High blood pressure and heart disease are risk factors for both tachycardia and bradycardia. Tachycardia is an unusually fast heart rate and bradycardia is an unusually slow heart rate. To avoid these problems, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Don't smoke, and if you drink, do so in moderation.


Drinking caffeinated beverages can raise your heart rate. Caffeine is found in coffee, energy drinks, colas and other sodas, chocolate and tea. Limit your caffeine intake if you suffer from tachycardia.


Medications such as antidepressants and migraine medications can affect your heart rate. Read the label on everything you take, and talk to your doctor about how your medications will interact with each other.

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