id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> Make sure you're relaxed while measuring your resting heart rate.
Getty Images Thump, thump, thump. Your heart is a constant soundtrack to your life, but have you ever really thought about it? Your resting heart rate -- how fast it beats while you're not exercising or doing anything strenuous -- is vitally important to your overall well-being. A normal resting heart rate falls anywhere between 60 to 100 beats per minute, though if you're in great shape, it could be even lower.
It's easy to measure. Just find your pulse on your neck or wrist, and count the number of beats you feel in 60 seconds. To some extent, your resting heart rate is influenced by outside factors, like the weather, your current emotions and medications you take. However, if it's consistently too high, you'll definitely want to get it checked out by a doctor, especially if you experience other symptoms, like dizziness, fatigue or shortness of breath.
Some fitness wearables can give you a measure of your resting heart rate.
Getty Images Even if your resting heart rate isn't high enough to warrant a medical condition, it'll be better for you in the long run if it falls towards the lower end of the range. One comprehensive study of a cohort of men and women suggested a higher rate of mortality for people that had a resting heart rate of over 70 beats per minute.
If your average resting heart rate is higher than you'd like it to be, the good news is that there are concrete steps you can take to lower it. Here are six lifestyle changes you can make starting today for a healthier heart.
1. Eat a heart-healthy diet
A heart-healthy diet can help ward off disease.
Getty Images What you eat has a large impact on your heart -- a diet high in deep-fried foods and sugary sweets is going to be hard on your heart. On the other hand, there are certain foods you can eat regularly to be kind to your body and improve the function of your heart.
For example, eating fish has been linked to lower resting heart rate. Plus, fish is delicious, so if you're a meat-eater or a pescetarian there's no reason not to incorporate it into your diet more. If you can't stand fish, calcium is also imperative to a healthy heart. Foods like milk, cheese and yogurt contain calcium, and if you're lactose intolerant like me, you can get your fix with leafy greens and calcium-fortified breads and cereals.
If you don't eat any of these foods, omega-3 fatty acids help your heart function well. Chia seeds and walnuts are both rich in this essential nutrient.
I promise I'm not kidding -- donning a mermaid tail and hopping in the pool is a great way to work out.
Getty Images Working out consistently is one of the most reliable methods to lowering your resting heart rate, and aerobic exercise is the best way to do it. It may seem counterintuitive, but raising your heart rate frequently will help it slow down in the long run. And you don't have to consign yourself to the treadmill either -- one study showed that both endurance training and yoga both lowered participants' resting heart rate.
If you can't stand the gym, there are other fun ways you can fit your workouts in. Rock climbing, dancing, and even pretending to be a mermaid are all effective (and fun) ways to exercise.
Read more: Heart rate tracking is the secret to getting fit
3. Quit smoking (and vaping)
Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your health.
Valery Sharifulin/Getty If you want to lower your resting heart rate, or have a healthier heart in general, ditch the cigarettes. Cardiac function has shown to be much better in nonsmokers, even while they're at rest. Vaping has been touted as a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, but some preliminary studies show that the flavorings in e-cigarettes can also hurt your heart.
4. Try to relax
Meditation is a great way to relax, and you can practice mindfulness anywhere.
Ksenia Makagonova / Unsplash I'm sure you're familiar with the feeling of being nervous or stressed out -- including your heart thumping wildly in your chest. While acute stress can raise your heart rate, chronic stress over time has also been shown to negatively impact heart health.
There are many effective ways to relieve stress, and you should try them out and see what works for you. Personally, I meditate daily for ten minutes and it's done wonders for my stress levels. You can even meditate on the go.
Walking outside in a green area can also be relaxing. You can practice the Japanese art of forest bathing by leaving all electronics behind and walking aimlessly, taking the smells and sounds of nature while you wander. You can also try getting a weighted blanket and using it when you want to relax or fall asleep.
For acute stress, deep breathing exercises will lower a high resting heart rate, but if you find that stress is affecting your daily life, you may want to take a more long-term approach.
5. Get better sleep
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