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What Else Besides Exercise Might Speed Up Your Heart Rate?

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
What Else Besides Exercise Might Speed Up Your Heart Rate?
A woman drinking tea while working from home. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

When you exercise, you may feel like your heart is racing afterward. This is because exercise causes your body to work harder and signals your heart to pump blood faster to your muscles. Though exercise may be one culprit for a racing heart, a number of other things can contribute to a heart that beats quickly, even when at rest. This is a phenomenon known as tachycardia, or a heart that beats faster than 100 beats per minute, which can have a wide variety of causes. .


You may be useless without a cup of coffee in the morning, but if you suffer with a racing heart, you may want to think about cutting back. Caffeine can raise your heart rate. It acts as a stimulant to make you feel more awake. If your body is especially sensitive to caffeine, your soda, coffee or medications containing caffeine could be exacerbating the problem of a too-high heart rate, warns the Cleveland Clinic. Check the ingredients before you consume and use caffeine wisely and infrequently.


Certain medications that are prescribed to you by your doctor can make you feel as though your heart is beating quickly. They most likely contain stimulants, such as caffeine, or other ingredients that can sometimes make you feel panicky or hyperactive. MedlinePlus points to psychotropics, beta-blockers, sympathomimetics and amphetamines as being a likely cause for a faster or irregular heart rate. If you notice your heart racing and you're taking your medications properly, consult your doctor to see whether she can alter your dosage or prescribe another type of medicine.


When you're overweight or obese, your heart has to work harder to send blood and oxygen to the parts of your body that constantly need it. Excess weight puts excess pressure on your heart, which can sometimes cause it to beat quickly, the Mayo Clinic says. When you engage in everyday activities such as climbing a set of stairs or pushing a vacuum, your heart may respond as though you were exercising because it exerts itself to keep you moving. This can put a great deal of strain on your heart. That's why it's so important to lose weight if you're overweight or obese.


If you're prone to bouts of anxiety attacks or suffer from a panic disorder, you know the feeling of a racing heart when you're stressed or anxious. When you feel anxious, your heart beats faster and raises the adrenaline in your body. Because panic disorders and anxiety can make your heart suddenly beat faster or cause chest pains, you may mistake your symptoms for those of a heart attack, the AARP says. Managing your anxiety and finding coping techniques can help slow your heart rate.

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