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Best options for lowering resting heart rate?



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REEDLY13
Posts: 12
3/13/13 1:09 P

I used to have the exact same problem. I was turned away many times because I couldn't get my pulse under 100. Normally my pulse was in the 80s, but I would be so nervous that it would be too high it would just shoot up. All I thought about was the money I would be missing out on if I couldn't donate that day.....

Then I started to close my eyes when they were taking my vitals...I tried to slow my breathing and think about other things (one nurse there suggested imagining the color blue because it's supposed to be peaceful). Once I was able to take some of the pressure off of myself it got easier to do.

When I first started donating plasma I was at a healthy weight but I never exercised at all. Over the years, I've incorporated exercise into my daily life and now my heart rate is usually in the 60s when I donate....

I know it's frustrating, but keep with it. Good luck!



MEWMEW34
SparkPoints: (1,091)
Fitness Minutes: (1,801)
Posts: 20
3/12/13 11:26 P

@Simplelife2: My blood pressure has always been good. I never have problems with it when I go to Biolife, and we used to have blood pressure screenings where I work and I was always in acceptable ranges when I'd get it checked there. I decided I should probably have it checked as my mom has blood pressure issues. I don't have a doctor at the moment. I'm unemployed and uninsured. There's a place I was suggested to look into nearby that takes those who are uninsured, but I don't know if they have any low-cost/free options for folks who are also unemployed with no form of income. I've got to call them after I replace my phone.



SIMPLELIFE2
Posts: 698
3/12/13 11:20 P

Your heart rate seems rather high. How is your blood pressure? What does your doctor have to say about it?



NANLEYKW
SparkPoints: (48,447)
Fitness Minutes: (24,391)
Posts: 803
3/12/13 10:29 P

If you have an Android phone, there's a free app called Instant Heart Rate that checks your heart rate using your phone's camera lens. It's actually quite accurate, and can give you an idea of your RHR easily (and free!).



LOSINGFORBABY
SparkPoints: (5,375)
Fitness Minutes: (3,140)
Posts: 502
3/12/13 8:29 P

Many pharmacies have a blood pressure machine that also tells you your heart rate.

You might try doing a search on one of the cheap models you found -- maybe even here on sparkpeople . . . people may be talking about them places other than amazon. Chances are anything even remotely accurate will be helpful for this purpose.



UNIDENT
Posts: 33,498
3/12/13 7:15 P

You don't need an HRM.

Sit down at a calm period where not much is going on, and see if you can find your pulse in your wrist, or your neck.

Watch a clock, and count the pulse for 30 seconds. Double it. That's your HR at that moment.



DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,157)
Fitness Minutes: (14,204)
Posts: 9,569
3/12/13 4:51 P

I got a cheap heart rate monitor watch at Walmart with a chest strap for about $50. It had its quirks, but it did the job. You can also get the wristwatch kind that take your pulse with a push button for less than that. They're not as reliable for exercise because you have to touch it to take a reading, but for your needs, they should be fine. The sports section at Walmart has a variety.



MEWMEW34
SparkPoints: (1,091)
Fitness Minutes: (1,801)
Posts: 20
3/12/13 4:26 P

@losingforbaby: So far, no. One of the nurses at the center suggested I try testing my heart rate when I'm not there, and see how it differs, but I don't own a heart rate monitor, don't have a lot of money to spend on one, and haven't found one for public use anywhere. I have a hard time finding my pulse on my own *and have had doctors have a hard time finding it in the past, too* so I'd prefer to use a monitor if I can find a cheap but reliable one. If anybody has suggestions for a cheap monitor that can give accurate BPM results I can look into getting one. Saw some really cheap ones on Amazon but I don't know how reliable they are. None of them cheap ones had reviews.



SERGEANTMAJOR
Posts: 6,398
3/12/13 3:00 P

When confronted with any type of non routine event it is very common for a person's heart rate to increase and their blood pressure to rise. Medical types call it "the white coat syndrome" when it occurs at a medical facility. I think that your elevated heart rate at the blood donor centre is a result of the "syndrome"

To lower your resting heart rate requires as others have said an improvement in physical fitness and strengthening of the cardio vascular system. This can be done and is a product of regular exercise however it takes time.



LOSINGFORBABY
SparkPoints: (5,375)
Fitness Minutes: (3,140)
Posts: 502
3/12/13 2:45 P

Do you ever test your heart rate when not at the center? Either by counting or on a fitness machine or with a monitor? It might be interesting to see what your heart rate is at a time when you feel relaxed. That could help determine whether this is an issue of stress causing a spike.

As others have mentioned, getting into a regular cardio routine will help lower your overall RHR. It can also help you relieve stress (although it would not be good to do cardio shortly before going in, as you'd no longer be resting).



ARCHIMEDESII
SparkPoints: (135,753)
Fitness Minutes: (204,410)
Posts: 20,187
3/12/13 2:10 P

MEWMEW34,

In order to lower your heart rate, you need to increase the strength of your heart. You do that with regular cardiovascular activity and some strength training. The stronger your heart becomes, the fewer beats it takes to pump blood out through your body. So, if you continue to exercise on a regular basis, with time, your resting heart rate will come down.

Of course, you also have to consider the option that you might be one of those people with a high resting heart rate. that's just the way some people are. Yoga is great. I do it regularly as part of my exercise routine. And believe me, there are practitioners who can lower their heart rates. but that takes years of training and meditation to do that.

I would encourage you to try yoga. You might want to start with Hatha or maybe a Vinyasa style yoga if you've never done it before. avoid bikram or power yoga for now. those might be a tad too intense. There are yoga classes that will teach you how to meditate. learning how to meditate could help you lower your heart rate, but once again that's something that takes years of training.

For now, engage in some regular cardiovascular activity. taking a brisk walk each day can help you lower your HR. Any type of exercise that gets your heart pumping can help.



UNIDENT
Posts: 33,498
3/12/13 2:08 P

Getting fitter tends to lower the resting HR. But that does take time.

Since you're doing it for a plasma donation, you'll want to find whatever works for you personally on the day. So you could try doing a yoga session in the morning. Look for Hatha yoga, it's slow and concentrates on breathing.

Then when at the centre make sure to arrive at least 15-20 minutes early, pick a chair, and sit and start concentrating on your breathing. Just count breaths and focus. Relax and think about puppies or world peace or whatever you find motivating.



DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,157)
Fitness Minutes: (14,204)
Posts: 9,569
3/12/13 2:07 P

Good old fashioned basic yoga is the best thing you can do for yourself. :) It's very relaxing, and improves flexibility and balance. There are other forms that are more vigorous, but you're looking to calm down.

Basically, lowered heart rate comes with improved cardiovascular health. Do regular cardio, 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes, lift weights 3-4 times a week, and lose weight. You can't really make your heart rate drop through specific exercises, but it sounds like you're also psyching yourself out.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 3/12/2013 (14:26)


MEWMEW34
SparkPoints: (1,091)
Fitness Minutes: (1,801)
Posts: 20
3/12/13 1:59 P

What are some good breathing and physical exercises I could do to help lower my resting heart rate and keep from getting nervous? I've been trying to donate plasma at the Biolife center near me, but I'm often deffered for a day due to my pulse being too high. I've had it at 86 at the lowest, but I'm not sure what I did to manage that. I often am at around 120 the first time they check my pulse, and I usually can't get it low enough to pass (it can't be any higher than 100bpm to donate). I know much of it is just that I get nervous wondering if I'll get through, and then I kind of shoot myself in the foot because of it and don't get through. I know losing weight will help, but I'm wondering what all I can do to help besides just weight loss.

The girls at the center say yoga, but what types of yoga would be most helpful? Especially for someone who has never done yoga before. I've also read that slow breathing can help but I'm not sure how to do it "right". I've been trying to take long, slow breaths but it doesn't seem to have helped any to keep me calm so far.



 
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