Log in

No account? Create an account
spikey eye bw



Musings, questions and brief essays. The normal.

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
A question about health and hearts
spikey eye bw
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?

  • 1
Wow, that's impressively low. I'd go with the 2.5X normal resting (so roughly 120bpm), just to be safe. No medical evidence for this, it just seems like a reasonable bet to start with. Overall though if you start feeling really bad then slow down and recover. That's probably stating the obvious, but it's amazing how often I manage to forget it.

You could try the Borg scale of perceived exertion and see how that matches up with your actual heart rate.

I don't know mine, but I do know it is slow enough to cause panic at hospitals and with my trainer when I first started. My blood pressure is now low-normal.

it does, by the way, make it a lot harder to get fit or to lose weight. I can get strong, but not fit and my weight is considerably more than most medics assume.

220-current age = maximum target heart rate for any adult. It is not affected by resting heart rate. Some people just have a naturally lower heart rate although people who are athletically fit will also have a lower heart rate. It means your heart isn't having to work as hard but it also means that if you want to do "cardio" exercise, *you* have to work that bit harder as you're aiming for at least 85% of your max THR and your heart has further to go to get there... However, people who are unfit generally reach this target sooner (ie after less exercise) than those who are fit.

Just out of interest, did your GP arrange any ECG testing (most particularly a 24 hour ECG monitor)? sometimes slow heart rates are an indication of problems with the "electric circuits" in the heart. /disengage cardiologist setting

They did an ECG, but just an at rest couple of minutes thing, nothing like 24 hours. I don't seem to experience any other issues so I don't see a lot of point in chasing people to test me more.

  • 1