General Cycling Discussion - Cyclists Recovering from Cardiomyopathy or Heart Related Illness
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07-05-10, 11:11 PM
Good Evening Folks -
I'm just getting back into road biking after being off for about 20 years (I just turned 39).
I am in remission from dilated cardiomyopathy, or enlarged heart. I'm under supervision from a cardiac specialist, and have not jumped in blindly. I'm using a computer with heart rate monitor too, to keep tabs on my progress.
I was wondering if there are any folks on here who have gone through the same thing and have any advice, experiences, or opinions to share. My main goal is to improve my fitness and lose weight (currently 225, looking to get down to 205), and of course, improve the strength of my cardiovascular system.
Thanks in advance -
I haven't gone through that. But I support your cautious approach. No harm in slowly buidling up your cardio strength. I only started cycling 3 summers ago. I don't overdo my cycling. I have no problem with stopping on hills to grab 60-90 seconds rest. But 3 summers later, I do believe I'm in the best cardio shape of my life. There's a family history of high blood pressure. And mine is usually on the high end of "normal". But it dawned on me this week that I have not felt this healthy since I don't know when! The core of my exercise regimen is trying to walk 10,000 steps a day, 5 days a week. And I use a website that allows me to convert activities like cycling, strength training, gardening, etc. to step values. My cycling is the activity I enjoy the most by far, but there are weeks (esp when it's been raining) that I might get on the bike once or perhaps not even that.
I say all this really to emphasize that regular moderate exercise (not just cycling) will gradually improve your fitness, strengthen your cardio, and reduce your weight. (I am similarly moderate with what I eat and how much.)
I wish you well.
My advice would be to take things slowly at first & do not push yourself until you are comfortable. Always warm up before getting on the bike or by taking it easy for the first couple of miles. The warm up will help open up your blood vessels and be better for your overall circulation.
Also be aware of the medication you are taking, the dosages and any side effects of said medications. Some blood pressure medications will cause you to become lightheaded. Speak with your doctor right away if you experience any side effects of the medications while riding.
07-07-10, 02:33 PM
What are the recommendations from your heart specialist?
07-12-10, 06:49 AM
Thanks for the replies guys.
My specialist has cleared me for aerobic workouts and cycling, and I've been at the gym for about 18 months now. I'm pretty much back to normal at this point, which makes me a lucky (and determined) guy. My only concerns revolve around how high my heart rate should go on extended rides. I'll go over that with my doc next time I see him.
I was hoping someone on here might have been in a similar situation, but it looks like I'm on my own - and that's a good thing I guess ;)
You're not 50 years old yet but a few of the 50+ crowd in the Fifty Plus (50+) forum can give you some advice. They've been there.
07-12-10, 10:01 AM
You don't mention any drugs your on. If you are on inhibitors or beta blockers or anything along those lines the typical HR zones are kind of out the window for you. You will have to determine with your doctor what your "zones" are. About the only time your HR should go high is if you have hills to climb or want to do power training and then the drugs aren't the best to be on for that type of training. Easy riding on the other hand shouldn't cause any problems with HR and you should be able to go all day riding with those typically low HR's.
When I was in rehab for my stint (99% blocked LAD @ 40yrs), on Beta blockers, my nurse would get upset if I pushed 125 for a HR. On a road bike climbing a hill however I could hit 140-145 and feel like dying. I would bet a typical HR in those situations for someone not on a Beta Blocker would have been 160+.
I long ago ditched the HR monitor especially when I was on Beta Blockers because I couldn't rely on it. I also never went out and pushed myself when riding for the first year, I went for endurance and distance, not speed. I am still not not using an HR monitor but may start next year for base training since I really want to get my distance times down. But by then I will have been off Beta Blockers for over a year.
Determine with your Doctor where your heart should be with any medications you are on, if any. Typical training rules for healthy people don't necessarily apply to you right now.
07-13-10, 12:44 AM
assuming that your EF, ejection fraction or overall heart function, is near good or possibly normal 55-65%, an ideal cardio workout would be a target heart rate of 153bpm under normal circumstances. If you've gotten clearance from your specialists, it will probably be ok to push yourself to around those limits.
also if you are on any medications as stated before, ace inhibitors or beta blockers, consult with your doctor first. your heart rate is going to go nowhere if and depending on the dosage of the meds you are taking.
I had Rheumatic Fever when I was 4 years old which resulted in a damaged valve. A few years ago, a second damaged valve was discovered, and a year or so later it was discovered that I have a very irregular heartbeat. I go for regular ECGs to monitor the situation.
A year ago, I was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis. My left leg was chalk full of clots, I was in hospital for 2 weeks, and I was put on Warfarin. Over the following months, my Dr continued tests to see if we could discover what might cause the DVT, and we solved the mystery. I have a genetic mutation which causes me to develop clots. It was also discovered that I have a high homocysteine level. This mutation combined with the high homocysteine level increases my risk of cardiac disease to a "high risk" level. We're working on bringing down my homocysteine level.
My Dr took me off Warfarin briefly a few weeks ago, but I developed DVT symptoms again, and so I'm back on it again and have an appointment with a specialist in August.
I've gone from being an ultra-distance rider who could knock off really long distances without too much effort to a rider who struggles with 100 km rides. I'm trying to adopt a "take it slow" and "ride for fun" attitude.
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