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slowing your heart rate

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Nov 19, 2002
Hi there
I am wondering if anyone knows some good tips on how to slow down your heart rate.
Avoid marriage....rofl .


I presume this thread is going to be one of the biggest "personal opinion" threads in history. Hopefully it will just result in a miriad of useful ideas, as opposed to a big pissing match. ;) Bottom line - find ways to relax relax relax. Anyway, here's a couple things I do.

Envision myself crossing into the negative buoyancy...sinking motionless into the deep.

Actually think about my heart slowing....like a conductor attempting to slow down the rushing music by tapping slower. I think of that pace I want, and try to get my heart to the same beat.

Focus on ambient noise/sounds.

If in the pool, focus on one spot/impression/discoloration on the bottom and stare at it like it is the light at the end of the tunnel. Focus on it like one of those computer generated, hidden image pictures (that I can't ever see :confused: ).

Then of course there is the good old mamallian reflex - cold water on your face naturally slows down your heart rate. I haven't had particularly good results, but I know others have. I'm probably freaking out because I'm fearing that first dose of cold water sneaking through the wetsuit to the jewels :eek: .

O.k. I'll leave the discussion now to those who actually know what they are talking about. Thank you very much, I'll be here all weekend. Don't forget to tip your waitress.
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1. While breathing up, you want your heart to beat as fast as possible to suck as much O2 from the lungs each second.
2. Once you start your apnea, you want your heart to beat at the correct rate that your body needs.

Your heart always beats at the correct rate (otherwise you would need a pacemaker). It parallels your oxygen needs. If your metabolic rates goes up, your heart rate goes up. If your metabolic rate goes down, your heart rate goes down.

So, you don't really want to slow your heart. You want to reduce your metabolic rate, and if you succeed, then your heart will follow, and slow down.

If you could truly 'slow' your heart against the will of your body, you would black out very quickly. If your heart is beating quickly, it is doing so to keep you alive.

So, the correct question should be: how can you slow down your metabolic rate?

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
How to slow your metabolism down



I wish I knew how to slow my metabolism down (without the aid of 'medicinal compounds').
So is this why a lot of people don't eat for a while before doing statics/dives, to help slow down the metabolic rate?

Just about to start getting back in to doing statics after a long break, so have decided to read through any new advice here (not visited the site for a while :duh).

Eating actually slows your metabolism as far as I remember.
The main reason to leave a window between eating and diving is so that all your blood is available for O2 purposes. Eating attracts blood around the gut for digestion.
The reason they tell you not to eat before swimming is similar: you can cramp because there is not enough blood available for the swimming muscles.
So, give yourself a 3 hour window before diving, and 24 hours if you are going for a surface static attempt.
Cheers Matt,
Erik Y.
24 hours?

I was told 12 or more hours, 24 hours is ...well....horrible. Please tell me you ment to say 12. I beg you.
I have learned to relax anywhere. Even during the static, whether you will be in your bed or in the pool you will tense up just a bit. Tense muscles drain oxygen. I can sit here in my chair at work and hold for 2 minutes +. I just lie back and count my heart beats and focus on relaxation, let loose all muscles (colon and urethra excluded) and sink into my bed or the water. I tend to close my eyes for further sensory depravation and that will calm you considerably.

My comments

Fasting lowers your metabolic rate because your body goes into starvation/conservation mode. Eating not only causes blood to rush to the belly, but the process of digestion consumes a huge amount of O2 and produces a large amount of heat. That's why you can 'warm up' by eating.

Metabolic rate = Heat production in J/s (Watts)
O2 consumption rate = Litres of O2 consumed per minute
These are closely related; if you know which fuels are being burned (i.e. fat/protein/carbs) you can calculate the metabolic rate given the O2 consumption rate.

Years ago I did an experiment where I fasted for ages and graphed my statics every few hours, to figure out how long you should fast for:

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

Neat experient. I might have to try this sometime. But for now, [looking at your results] I will gladly sacrifice 40 seconds for 16 less hours of starvation.

the trick i want to learn is how not to eat for 30 hours...:head

the time between breakfast and lunch is enough to get my stomach grumbling:eek:

but seriously, i use to do progressive deep muscle relaxation and that lowered my HR significantly (about 20bpm) once relaxed i could keep my HR low for a few minutes before:
1. my stomach decided to speak up (needs feeding every few hours)
2. i got bored
3. i remebered something i had to do for homework (if it is something major the heartrate jumps up incredibly high)

i havent done it in a while, i got kind of boring...
Your heart always beats at the correct rate (otherwise you would need a pacemaker). It parallels your oxygen needs. If your metabolic rates goes up, your heart rate goes up. If your metabolic rate goes down, your heart rate goes down.
I don't know the REAL answer to that, but I think that the metabolism CAN be manipulated to some point BY the heartrate, and not only the other way around.
It's true that the heart is the "servant" in that matter, but if less supplies come to the tissues, the metabolic rate of the tissues should slow down by my sense.
I know that my heart is susceptible to changes at some extent:
If I stare at a clock my heart sometimes syncronizes with the seconds, against my will, especially if it means that the rate will increase.
It can be a problem measuring pulse. :hmm
I don't think that my metabolism increases when I measure pulse with a clock. :)
And I think that you can take that scenario as a fact, since my resting heart-rate is pretty low 50 or so (I'm a good "rester":)).

About slowing down the heart rate, well, relaxing ofcourse is the major modifier. About consciously slowing it down, I can't say that I'm sure I'm managing to do it since I don't have an AKG to record my attempts, but I do try sometimes, and sometimes with the feeling of success.
I can't even describe what I'm doing in these tries, since it's more intuition guided then sense, it's like putting your hand in a dark closed box, not getting any sences back, but still managing to pull some levers or press some buttons. :confused:

I'm curious if a serious reseach on that was ever made.
I don't rule out the possibility of some one gaining some control on the autonomous nervous system... nerves in our brain are rerouting every second we are alive, with some good practice in the right direction, who knows.

Good luck doing it. :)
but seriously, i use to do progressive deep muscle relaxation and that lowered my HR significantly (about 20bpm)
Say, what progressive deep muscle relaxation?
In one of my army courses I was tought a muscle relaxation technique called "Johnson" or "Jackobson" or "Jackson" or (well you get the point), in which you lay down on the floor with eyes shut, quench every muscle in your body at a time for a few seconds starting from legs to face, then quench them all the same time, and then just enjoy the relaxing "buzz" and feel free to fall a zzz while the trainer (usally a very fit girl) continue to describe you some deserted island or some other tranquile fantasy...

And then you are being waken up and discover where you really are. :(:waterwork:(

-Anyway, is that the same technique?
I never tried checking my pusle after doing that...
yes, it is the same technique (except i use the radio instead of a girl telling me of a very nice place to be...) and at the end i dont clench all of the muscles

as for how long you hold the muscle contractions, i started at about 5-6seconds and near the end i was holding them for 10 seconds...

can i ask why you were doing this in the army>?
My guess is so that it's a way of getting you to get to sleep quicker. In the forces you need to be able to grab the sleep when you can, and if it gets ready to fall asleep, then it can only help.

I could be completely wrong however!

Well, in the technique I was thought you start with few muscles at the time, letting go each time, and eventually get to the point the you clench every muscle in the body that you can find, before letting go finally.

can i ask why you were doing this in the army>?
I could tell you, but then I'l have to kill ya'! (such a worn out joke)

In that course we excersized everyday, and very often, although the types of excersizes are varied to try and not "over stress" the body, some muscle relaxation was required, and that's the army's cheap replacment for a massage.
So we did this Jackobson (I think it was THAT name) everyday from a certain part of the course, usally in the evening.

And no Matt, most poeple did not have troubles getting asleep in the few hours we got. :)
Re: 24 hours?

Originally posted by wilfdarr
I was told 12 or more hours, 24 hours is ...well....horrible. Please tell me you ment to say 12. I beg you.

:) ....haha! Sorry, but I did mean 24 hrs. It's not so bad if you put your mind to it...and that's a lot of what freediving is about, yes?
I only eat every 12 hours, so it's not too hard to miss a meal. Fasting occasionally is a very healthy thing to do, even if you're not trying to break records. It also gives you a sense of satisfaction, knowing that YOU are the master of your body, and not the other way around. This idea is at the heart of most religions in one form of another, and is worth exploring in any way that feels right to you. Freediving being one of them....you take control of a basic need (let alone an urge, like alcohol or drugs), and control it: breathing in a regular pattern is at the top of the priorities as far as your physical body is concerned, but you over-ride that need. This gives a great sense of control and connection, which might be a few of the reasons that freedivers are attracted to it.
Then again, it might be to win medals or catch fish!
My opinions amigo, take with a grain of salt please (after fasting of course) :)
Erik Y.
Erik, I feel about this the same as you. :)
I usally eat one big meal per day, and maybe some snacks, and it's still easy for me to skip a meal.:confused:
I try now to get 2 big meals per day, since I want to gain some weight back, I lost 3kg a few weeks ago when going freediving after fasting for more than 24 hours. Felt smooth and at ease, but I guess that ketosis doesn't depend on how you feel. Gained 2kg back already.

I eat the Camel's way, till I'm full. I like it that way, and since my body is acustomed to that, I don't suffer the same tiredness that other poeple might have after a large meal.

Anyway, what I meant to say is, that I also like the control/freedom over some of my bodily needs. I do the same with sleep, It's common for me to skip a night as well, since I currently have no comitments that might prevent it.
I've been living like that from the 7th grade, so I suffer very little penalty if at all.

And I have more philosophical notions about the attractions of freediving.
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To Eric Fattah:

About your charted graph, of fasting time against static.
How often did you measure statics? in what way - warmups? max? 70%? what quantity per "session"?
Did you drink only water?
Did you sleep your full "quota"?
Did you do a "sudden" fast? or did you slower your metabolism some days before?
What kind of food you ate in the last meal?

From these questions you can understand that I'm considering checking the same affects on me... since other poeple react different and all that... and fasting is no problem for me, most of my statics are done after 12+- fasting, but usally in the mornings.

I hope I'm not bothering you too much lately....
Experiment details

This experiment was years ago--in theory all the details are in a journal locked away in some cabinet, if I look for it.

But from memory:
- I would do two statics per session, one to about 3'30 - 4'00, followed by the 'max' to 20 contractions
- I drank only water during the fast
- Slept full quota
- I had been on a 100% raw food diet for several months (another experiment), and I think my last meal was a big salad
- How often did I measure the statics? You can see on the graph, each data point is a measurement

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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