Author Topic: Heart rate  (Read 1977 times)

Heart rate
« on: March 11, 2021, 08:13:00 am »
Just a quick question about exercise, age and heart rate.

All my life I have been active: cycling, sailing, swimming, although never competitively. Until recently I've not monitored anything like heart rate.

Now having taken to Zwift I bought a Wahoo tickr monitor that I have been using a few months. I like to do quite challenging rides, rarely over 2 hours for convenience. I am a 2.4 to 3.2 w/kg cyclist so very ordinary.

At 67 the common formula says my max heart rate should be 153 but using the tickr I find myself frequently in the mid 160s and getting a max in the low 170s if I really go for it. In the gym, pre-covid, I was aware of the same stats on their machines.

In 2005 I was hospitalised after being knocked unconscious by a carelessly opened car door. They were very concerned about my condition not least because my unconscious heart rate was very low. However, I have always had a low resting rate, ranging from 47 down to 42 (about what it is now).

What I would like to know is whether I should worry about getting a higher maximum than accepted wisdom or just accept we are all different?

Last year I was checked over in A&E quite thoroughly after a minor injury (to my ribs) and was told I was in very good shape otherwise. I have been told my blood pressure is on the low side usually but it's not problematic.

Any comments, advice would be of interest.

Sic transit and all that..

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2021, 08:22:05 am »
The max HR age formula has statistical significance at the population level. But at the individual level, it is meaningless.  Some will be under the figure it comes up with, some over it like you. As to resting HR your numbers are not unusual for people active all their life.  The 60 bpm resting HR is derived for a sedentary population sample.

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2021, 09:21:00 am »
We have recently discussed this in topics about running.  I am 58, have a resting hr of 48 and last time I did a stress test recorded a maximum of 186.   I use a Garmin chest strap when running to record my hr. 

Clearly the formula does not fit all and to be honest I'd expect this to be the case.  There are other formulae too but again, I don't expect a one size fits all scenario.

The stress test that I did was to go for a run at a moderate pace for 5km then really pick it up and push as hard as I could for the sixth and last km.  It's clearly not as scientifically robust as being in a lab on a treadmill with all sorts of monitors blinking and beepers beeping but it's better than a random formula in my opinion.   I felt absutely no negative effects afterwards.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2021, 09:30:13 am »
Individual max HR and resting HR are partly down to fitness level, partly down to genetics. There is no formula for working out the max HR of an individual.

If you work out your own max HR properly (ie not using a formula), you can use that as the basis for training zones (as percentages of your max HR) that will indicate - though not entirely reliably - your level of effort while exercising. (The reason HR is not a reliable indicator of effort is because it can be affected by things like fatigue, eg at the end of a long audax.)

Comparing your own figures to anyone else's is a waste of time.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2021, 10:06:34 am »
Asterix.  You are healthy!  do not worry.

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2021, 10:27:26 am »
Thanks all.  I shall worry no more! :thumbsup:
Sic transit and all that..

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2021, 10:57:26 am »
Individual max HR and resting HR are partly down to fitness level, partly down to genetics. There is no formula for working out the max HR of an individual.

If you work out your own max HR properly (ie not using a formula), you can use that as the basis for training zones (as percentages of your max HR) that will indicate - though not entirely reliably - your level of effort while exercising. (The reason HR is not a reliable indicator of effort is because it can be affected by things like fatigue, eg at the end of a long audax.)

Comparing your own figures to anyone else's is a waste of time.

This.

I don't think there's any way to work out your own max HR other than measuring it. I hit 181 recently. Which I feel is lower than I should be able to do. But I've not had reason to really push it since. My resting heart rate is "low" on a population level, at 59bpm. But compared to you lot, apparently relatively high.

I think the more interesting metric is how fast it can go from one end to the other. If you push out 180, how quickly does it drop to 60 when you stop?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2021, 11:07:53 am »
I think the more interesting metric is how fast it can go from one end to the other. If you push out 180, how quickly does it drop to 60 when you stop?

J

I have to be careful with that. I can barely hit 180 but my resting is less than 50. I faint if it drops too quickly- presumably because of blood pressure rather than HR dropping.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2021, 11:38:41 am »
I believe it is entirely normal for a fit person who does significant amounts of cardio exercise to have a higher maximum, and lower resting, heart rate than the general population. I am 65, and my numbers are very similar to yours, Asterix. As a professional pilot, my heart has received fairly close monitoring over the last 45 years. During a bout of pneumonia in 1985, my sleeping heart rate was recorded as around 28-30 (which caused much consternation at the time), and I went through some very close monitoring after contracting viral pericarditis in 2015, including multiple Holter tests (24 hr recording), which confirmed that, while asleep, my HR was regularly well below 40.

One side effect of having been extremely fit for such a long time is that the heart, enlarged by decades of exercise, becomes flabby (like the rest of me!) when the exercise reduces. In my case, that resulted in an occasionally ectopic heart beat as the electronics start going a bit haywire. Again, that was very closely monitored every six months until I retired, during which time I learned that holding one's breath during an ECG stabilises things magically! My consultant cardiologist declared that, were I a regular patient, he would have been 'spectacularly uninterested' in the symptoms, but warned me that 'athlete's heart syndrome' is a real thing which applied to anyone who exercises long term (regardless of lack of talent) and can mean that one is more, not less, likely to experience a heart event as one relaxes into old age.

In other words, we are condemned to exercise until we drop! A mantra which I've steadfastly ignored during lockdown and need to adopt again...

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2021, 11:54:22 am »
I believe it is entirely normal for a fit person who does significant amounts of cardio exercise to have a higher maximum, and lower resting, heart rate than the general population. I am 65, and my numbers are very similar to yours, Asterix. As a professional pilot, my heart has received fairly close monitoring over the last 45 years. During a bout of pneumonia in 1985, my sleeping heart rate was recorded as around 28-30 (which caused much consternation at the time), and I went through some very close monitoring after contracting viral pericarditis in 2015, including multiple Holter tests (24 hr recording), which confirmed that, while asleep, my HR was regularly well below 40.

One side effect of having been extremely fit for such a long time is that the heart, enlarged by decades of exercise, becomes flabby (like the rest of me!) when the exercise reduces. In my case, that resulted in an occasionally ectopic heart beat as the electronics start going a bit haywire. Again, that was very closely monitored every six months until I retired, during which time I learned that holding one's breath during an ECG stabilises things magically! My consultant cardiologist declared that, were I a regular patient, he would have been 'spectacularly uninterested' in the symptoms, but warned me that 'athlete's heart syndrome' is a real thing which applied to anyone who exercises long term (regardless of lack of talent) and can mean that one is more, not less, likely to experience a heart event as one relaxes into old age.

In other words, we are condemned to exercise until we drop! A mantra which I've steadfastly ignored during lockdown and need to adopt again...

I remember that this was a major problem for Steve Redgrave who had to continue exercising at almost pre Olympic levels after retirement and wean down to normal over 6-9 months.  He also developed Type 2 diabetes and one has to wonder if his energy intake stressed his pancreas or changed his cellular resistance.

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2021, 12:14:47 pm »
I always find this discussion odd - even in my early 20s when very fit my resting heart rate never went below 50, or got it above 200. For a while (late 20s) before I was diagnosed hyperthyroid it was around 120!
Looking at the last few years cycling data, it seems my approx HR range is between 55 and 180 (in my 40s).

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2021, 12:27:45 pm »
I always find this discussion odd - even in my early 20s when very fit my resting heart rate never went below 50, or got it above 200. For a while (late 20s) before I was diagnosed hyperthyroid it was around 120!
Looking at the last few years cycling data, it seems my approx HR range is between 55 and 180 (in my 40s).
You fit almost exactly the average max heart rate of (220 - age) which gives 200 for a 20 year old and 180 for a 40 year old. It is an average and can vary from person to person by +/- 10% or more, just like your height and equally unlinked to level of training.

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2021, 12:48:51 pm »
GCN covered this topic quite well a little while back. It is well worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-ODB9zIywM

The take away was basically, decades of being fit confers such incredible health benefits compared to the sedentary norm: And that incidents of over-training harm were fairly rare, and in most cases had red flags that should prompt action. Especially as it applies to enthusiastic amateurs.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2021, 12:53:39 pm »
I remember that this was a major problem for Steve Redgrave who had to continue exercising at almost pre Olympic levels after retirement and wean down to normal over 6-9 months.  He also developed Type 2 diabetes and one has to wonder if his energy intake stressed his pancreas or changed his cellular resistance.

IIRC he was diabetic while competing, there was something in a DiabetesUK magazine that we got for being part funded by them where he was discussing how he would do his BGs while rowing.
Diagnosed 1997: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/celebrities/steve-redgrave.html

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2021, 12:55:36 pm »
I'm aware of 3 formulae for max heart rate.  Here they are:

The original one, thought up by Polar, is 220-age.  This yields the lowest value and so is beloved of cardiologists the world over.
Supposedly more exact for over-40s: 207 - age * 0.7.
As above but more exact according to some: 211 - age * 0.64.

I'm 74, so the doc's favourite yields 146, the second formula gives 155 and the third 162.  Judging from what I did yesterday, I should use #3, but it amuses me more to plug the first one into my stats prog and watch the figures turn red.

To be fair, my doc says that it doesn't matter how high it goes as long as it comes down to a reasonable level once you stop pushing.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Heart rate
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2021, 01:21:38 pm »
I'm aware of 3 formulae for max heart rate.  Here they are:

The original one, thought up by Polar, is 220-age.  This yields the lowest value and so is beloved of cardiologists the world over.
Supposedly more exact for over-40s: 207 - age * 0.7.
As above but more exact according to some: 211 - age * 0.64.

I'm 74, so the doc's favourite yields 146, the second formula gives 155 and the third 162.  Judging from what I did yesterday, I should use #3, but it amuses me more to plug the first one into my stats prog and watch the figures turn red.

To be fair, my doc says that it doesn't matter how high it goes as long as it comes down to a reasonable level once you stop pushing.
This study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7523886/#b14-ijes-13-7-1242  - looks at 9 formulae that have been proposed and decides that fox’s original (220 - age) is the best overall for predicting max hr, but rather than predicting, just measuring it is probably best.

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2021, 01:32:26 pm »
I remember that this was a major problem for Steve Redgrave who had to continue exercising at almost pre Olympic levels after retirement and wean down to normal over 6-9 months.  He also developed Type 2 diabetes and one has to wonder if his energy intake stressed his pancreas or changed his cellular resistance.

Indeed, but the important thing to takeaway is that you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to be susceptible. Cycling a significant amount at relatively high intensity over many years - which probably covers most YACF readers - gives fantastic health benefits, but there are possible downsides too. Being aware of the issue and not relapsing into total lack of activity is probably fine for most of us, and it's something I would probably never have known if I hadn't been under fairly close supervision. But it's more of an interesting anecdote in the context of the OP than a dire warning of the consequences of exercise!

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2021, 02:24:31 pm »
IIRC he was diabetic while competing, there was something in a DiabetesUK magazine that we got for being part funded by them where he was discussing how he would do his BGs while rowing.
Diagnosed 1997: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/celebrities/steve-redgrave.html

Extremely tenuous claim to fame - I know the editor of the Diabetes UK magazine, who did that interview.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2021, 04:30:20 pm »
Diabetes UK, by the by, is a different organization to diabetes.co.uk.

My heart rate naps down to the low forties, which terrified my GP the other year, but it's normal if you do regular exercise (that says something about the average Brit's attitude to exercise if they're shocked by that, I'm not exactly an athlete, but I do full-on aerobic exercise every day).

Apropos of nothing, there was a study a while back in Dublin that found that people with the surname of Brady were statistically more likely to suffer from bradycardia. Often used to illustrate the danger of statistical assumptions.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2021, 04:54:58 pm »
Diabetes UK, by the by, is a different organization to diabetes.co.uk.

So it is. I know my friend has interviewed Steve Redgrave, but maybe it wasn't the same interview as FE linked to.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2021, 05:04:10 pm »
It's a bit confusing, Diabetes UK (the national diabetes charity, aka the British Diabetic Association) is diabetes.org.uk. The other one (diabetes.co.uk) is a forum and patient group.
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Re: Heart rate
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2021, 06:59:22 pm »
I remember that this was a major problem for Steve Redgrave who had to continue exercising at almost pre Olympic levels after retirement and wean down to normal over 6-9 months.  He also developed Type 2 diabetes and one has to wonder if his energy intake stressed his pancreas or changed his cellular resistance.
Cycling a significant amount at relatively high intensity over many years - which probably covers most YACF readers - gives fantastic health benefits, but there are possible downsides too.

I don’t know about others but I don’t accumulate significant durations at high intensity.  My long rides is mostly sitting in my HR Z2.

Re: Heart rate
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2021, 07:20:41 pm »
Minor thing.

Quote
I am a 2.4 to 3.2 w/kg cyclist so very ordinary.

That's not that ordinary. Most of your average Joes and Janes would really struggle with that. Ordinary for a cyclist? Maybe - but I bet there are some awesome audaxers out there who couldn't ride for long at 3w/kg.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2021, 08:07:06 pm »
Minor thing.

Quote
I am a 2.4 to 3.2 w/kg cyclist so very ordinary.

That's not that ordinary. Most of your average Joes and Janes would really struggle with that. Ordinary for a cyclist? Maybe - but I bet there are some awesome audaxers out there who couldn't ride for long at 3w/kg.

I dream of being able to do 3w/kg...

Managed to hit 175bpm peak, with 171bpm for 5 mins on todays ride. Avereage 142bpm for 97 minutes.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: Heart rate
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2021, 09:36:22 pm »
Minor thing.

Quote
I am a 2.4 to 3.2 w/kg cyclist so very ordinary.

That's not that ordinary. Most of your average Joes and Janes would really struggle with that. Ordinary for a cyclist? Maybe - but I bet there are some awesome audaxers out there who couldn't ride for long at 3w/kg.

Glad you said it, Chris - I was feeling very inadequate. 3.2w/kg for me is over 300W, and that ain't happening for long!