What can affect your resting heart rate?

Have you ever wondered why your heart rate is faster or slower than usual when at rest? Or maybe some things that change the pace of your heartbeat have puzzled you. Well, look no further because we are here to discuss all the possible reasons that can affect your resting heart rate (RHR).

Understanding Heart Rate

Before delving into the factors that influence RHR, let’s first take a brief moment to understand what actually happens in our bodies every time our hearts beat.

The heart comprises four chambers – two on top called atria and two at bottom known as ventricles. The rhythmic contractions occurring within these chambers push blood throughout the body via tubes called arteries and veins.

Heartbeats occur because of electrical impulses generated by special cardiac cells present in one part of the right atrium known as Sinoatrial node (SA node). These impulses set off an action potential resulting in contraction of various parts of the heart muscle wall which process represents ‘one’ heartbeat. This entire event accomplishes it even without conscious control from our minds except for conditions where any type of exertion might force us towards panting breaths trying harder to add upoxygen sufficiency needed (rhythms).

Generally, normal heartbeat range varies between 60-100 beats per minute (BPM) for adults while a newborn baby registers a higher count ranging between 90-170 BPM due to their still un-adapted cardiovascular system after being brought forth into this world (stats).

Now famous spots throughout pop-culture say “My boy/girl makes my heart skip a beat”, but believe me; high or low variation seldom come from external stimuli alone!

Excited yet? Let’s get moving into ‘factors affecting RHR’!

Factors That Influence RHR


One major factor that heavily impacts RHR is age. Aging causes a slowdown in the activity of the SA node – which kicks off our heartbeat’s electrical impulse – leading to an increase in RHR. Generally, children have faster heart rates than adults because their cardiovascular systems, along with other body functions, are still developing (SAnode).

Fitness Level

Physical fitness plays a crucial role when it comes to regulating your pulse rate throughout any activity or just while idling away time. Exercising for extended periods boosts the efficiency and contraction prowess of cardiac myocytes found within our heart muscle wall; thus making each beat more effective at pushing blood through wider channels resulting in lesser beats required for minute maintenance leading towards lower RHRs [1][2]. Regular training sessions can lead over-time improvements that’ll also be present during moments like restorative sleep patterns as opposed to being relaxed without any workouts.


For some people who possess genes linked with hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease or obesity usually encompass higher resting pulse numbers too since these tend to deplete various parameters acting positively on rhythmic functionality throughout ages e.g slimness/ low cholesterol count etcetera [3].

Even if you’re healthy from birth – bad habits developed over-time cause damages consist of unhealthy blood cells reducing perforance levelslly!

Caffeine Intake

Tea, Coffee and many carbonated drinks have caffeine~ substances able to activate parts belonging directly into nervous setups across our bodies such as Adenosine receptors found upon every cell capable of blocking external stimuli impeding them from triggering jostle sensitive neural areas during deeper aspects focusing upon wakefulness allowing other signals involved during relaxation periods effecting minimal involvement heavily impacting adverselyoverral rythmicity[4].

Other Factors That Affect Your RHR

Apart from the factors mentioned earlier, several other contributors may alter your resting heart rate –

  • Anxiety/Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Body Temperature
  • Hormonal Change (Pregnancy)
  • Medications (eg. Beta-blockers that slow heartbeat and decreases blood pressure).

It’s important to understand how different aspects have varying levels of output without expecting too much over decades or even months whenever going-through certain events, notice your body’s reaction closely via regularly monitoring overall pulse influences upon your life with wearable devices/stress tests performing ECGs [5].


Whether you’re an athlete or someone just looking for healthier living habits, maintaining a decent resting heart rate is imperative since long-term fluctuations can lead towards potential health risks from unnoticed internal injuries right under our noses! Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide – simple behavioural changes may aid preventing any ailment targeting this region immediately credited directly decreasing risk factors as well ~weight-loss/ smoking cessation programs~ etcetera are few examples; it never hurts buying some time by taking good care out health genuinely affecting both ourselves and others within numerous ways we often cannot fathom yet impactful enough making them no joke indeed!

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