July 8th, 2011

spikey eye bw

A question about health and hearts

So I have a really slow heart rate. It's always been slow, at least, as long as I've paid it any attention. When we learnt at school how to take a pulse my fellow students were puzzled. The people on my first aid course thought I must be amazingly chilled out because my heart went so slowly. When taking my blood pressure the doctor got concerned about how slow my pulse is and ordered a suite of tests to check nothing was wrong. It's supposed to be a sign of fitness, which is odd, because I'm really not particularly fit, but there's apparantly nothing wrong, I'm just weird that way.

When I say slow, I really do mean slow. An average resting heart rate is 70-100 beats per minute. Mine is in the forties - the slowest I've ever seen it was 43bpm, but it's usually around 48.

What I want to know, though, is what my maximum safe heart rate should be. It's generally calculated as something like 220 minus your age. But for an average 35 year old that's somewhere around 2.5 times their resting heart rate. For me that's more like four times my resting rate - so is that still a suitable figure to use if doing something intensive like running?