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Old 04-10-13, 01:41 PM   #1
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Recommended Heart Rate?

What heart rates do you typically see during riding or other exercise? To give context, what is your resting pulse and, if you know it, your maximum heart rate?

Is it bad for your longevity to have too high a heart rate during exercise? Is it a warning sign that your heart gets to those rates? Should we avoid working our heart rate above a certain level, to get the most life out of the thing?

Here is why I am asking. I'm being told to exercise at a pace where I can comfortably keep talking. But I don't. During spin classes, I usually maintain my HR around 165, and I think for me that's borderline for being able to maintain a conversation. Every morning my ride to work includes a 170+ bpm sprint, and I can't talk at that HR (even if there were anyone to talk with). During fun rides (and now, beginning to run too) I will usually get to 170-175 and sometimes 180+, not for a long time, but for several periods during the ride.

I'm 50 y/o. My resting pulse is about 55. I have gotten up to 190+ when sprinting hard on the spin bike, I wasn't falling off the bike, dizzy, blacking out, or anything. So I'll guess my max HR might be 195-200.

Any thoughts? I like my heart, and don't want to wear it out.
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Old 04-10-13, 02:59 PM   #2
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Wow. This post has been up for an hour, and no advice from the Holiday Inn Express. Amazing.

I didn't sleep there last night.

Max heart rates vary from person to person and are age-related.

There's a whole lot of discussion right now about what constitutes enough exercise from too much exercise. Heart rate monitoring might help sort that out. Maybe not.

This is my take on it: people tend to push it too fast, like riding 100 miles in a week because it's nice out and ending up with plantar fascism. Heart rate monitoring helps, I think, to slow you down when you want to go too fast.

So many will set a heart rate, something like 70-85% max and try not to exceed it, unless they really want to.

Which leads to a long discussion about LSD/base training vs. HIIT stuff.

I don't race. I'm not even doing club rides much these days, so the high intensity stuff doesn't make sense to me. So I tend to try to keep my heart rate below the 85% threshhold. For me, that's a heart rate of about 140 or so.

The racers and hard-core trainers are probably wincing over this post about now.
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Old 04-10-13, 06:17 PM   #3
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If you're not training for a race, I would ride based on perceived exertion or ventilatory threshold. So basically about the effort to takes to maintain a slow steady rhythm of breathing where you can carry on a conversation, one sentence at a time. You can exceed that effort to get over short hills, etc but generally settle back to the standard or below. I think that would keep your HR in an aerobic zone where the most gains can be made. YMMV.
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Old 04-10-13, 07:01 PM   #4
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Heart rates vary. As long as I see one for myself, I am okay.
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Old 04-10-13, 07:21 PM   #5
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I like my heart, and don't want to wear it out.
It's probably not so much intensity as duration. For some people, even years of extended duration exercise doesn't seem to be a problem, with others, well, read this review: http://afibbers.org/resources/endurancesports.pdf
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Old 04-10-13, 07:42 PM   #6
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I've just started playing with a basic Polar HRM this Spring. So far, helping me to either slow down or adjust my technique so that my heart rate is slower at the same speed for long periods. Haven't done any serious climbing with it yet.....I'll expect to see some big numbers on steep climbs.
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Old 04-10-13, 09:02 PM   #7
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What heart rates do you typically see during riding or other exercise? To give context, what is your resting pulse and, if you know it, your maximum heart rate?

Is it bad for your longevity to have too high a heart rate during exercise? Is it a warning sign that your heart gets to those rates? Should we avoid working our heart rate above a certain level, to get the most life out of the thing?

Here is why I am asking. I'm being told to exercise at a pace where I can comfortably keep talking. But I don't. During spin classes, I usually maintain my HR around 165, and I think for me that's borderline for being able to maintain a conversation. Every morning my ride to work includes a 170+ bpm sprint, and I can't talk at that HR (even if there were anyone to talk with). During fun rides (and now, beginning to run too) I will usually get to 170-175 and sometimes 180+, not for a long time, but for several periods during the ride.

I'm 50 y/o. My resting pulse is about 55. I have gotten up to 190+ when sprinting hard on the spin bike, I wasn't falling off the bike, dizzy, blacking out, or anything. So I'll guess my max HR might be 195-200.

Any thoughts? I like my heart, and don't want to wear it out.
You won't wear your heart out by exercising, just the opposite probably. They tell you to spin at a pace where you can talk because that approximates your threshold heart rate or slightly below threshold HR. An average HR on a ride is just a measure of work performed. Your threshold HR is probably more significant for training purposes. In a long endurance ride, you want to spend as much time as you can at or near the threshold heart rate. That's the point where there is a balance between lactate production and lactate clearing--it is a steady state. You can figure it out a lot of ways, some more accurate than others.

For years I tried to use the basic formula (something like 220-your age) to calculate my maximum HR but discovered in my case the formula was way off. I'm 57. The formula suggests maximum should be 163 and threshold around 131. Yet my actual measured threshold is around 173 and my maximum about 196. I'm an outlier. The gold standard is a cycling-based blood test done indoors. The silver standard is to ride up a hill for an hour at the fastest pace you can go for that hour. Your average for that hour is your threshold heart rate. That's the point above and below which (depending on your goals) you want to train. See Joe Freil's blog (and many others) for a simpler way to calculate the threshold HR (if you don't live in the mountains) and if you want to dig deeper into HR or power based training.

Why don't you actually find out your threshold heart rate and then work your training around that, if you are interested in training?Your maximum is probably not all that significant--mostly we do not spend very much time there--it's called a maximum for a reason. When I'm training and doing intervals, I'll see a maximum of 185 or so momentarily during the intervals. When I'm racing cyclo-cross I'll average 180 for 45 minutes and hit 190+ a couple of times in the race as I try to bridge a gap or leave someone behind.

But there's also no huge reason to be super obsessive about HR or watts. If you're not training to race or for long rides that require serious training, just go have fun and enjoy yourself and use a PRE (perceived rate of exertion) scale to judge how hard you are working. It has pretty good correlation with HR. Good luck! Have fun.
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Old 04-10-13, 09:32 PM   #8
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Same here. Age 60, about 60 resting, 135 cruising, 170ish working, and over 200 max. When I got into biking years ago my problem was kiting, my HR would get high and stay there, bouncing around 160-175 even when I pulled back. Particularly true on long rides and hot days (hydration issues). After some regular training and monitoring with a HRM, the benefit is how fast the heart rate can "recover", drop down into the 130-140 zone after exersion, ready to rev back up again if necessary. I think this is definitely beneficial for any long distance riding, but nothing to get obsessive about.
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Old 04-10-13, 10:15 PM   #9
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I am about the same as you. 51 y/o, resting HR in mid 50's, max HR measured at the end of a hard sprint about 196. One of my favorite workouts is some hill climbing intervals where I end up seeing HR at 180+ after each 10 min climb. The 3 min descent gives me enough time to recover and repeat. I don't monitor HR much on the longer rides but I am guessing around 150 or so much of the time.
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Old 04-10-13, 10:32 PM   #10
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Great responses, thanks. I'm reading that blog now.
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Old 04-11-13, 05:14 AM   #11
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It's probably not so much intensity as duration. For some people, even years of extended duration exercise doesn't seem to be a problem, with others, well, read this review: http://afibbers.org/resources/endurancesports.pdf
Good article.

For more of the same, from a cyclist's perspective: http://www.drjohnm.org/

Best quote from Terex's article: “Excessive training is harmful when it exaggeratedly modifies the ANS balance beyond the sympathetic and parasympathetic physiological values. It is a major mistake to think that the man in the street must be as trained and fit as the professional sportsman. Any common sense driver knows that if he wants to make his car last, he must avoid handling it as a rally or Formula One driver.”
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Old 04-11-13, 05:38 AM   #12
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I think one of the ideas behind the recommendation for "conversational exercise" is to remain aerobic.

Exercise requires increased power output, which requires that your body converts "air and oats" to muscular energy at an elevated pace compared to couch-surfing. Depending on your fitness and conditioning, you have a level which is the capacity of your body to achieve this energy conversion. Below that level you can take in enough air to fulfill the power output requirements, and your breathing is essentially normal. Deeper and faster perhaps, but in a mode you can sustain for a good length of time. Above that level you are consuming and processing more oxygen than you can take in and process, and panting and extreme breathing results as you go into oxygen debt. The recovery time of aerobic exercise (body must recover from the stress, this is what makes you stronger) is much shorter than for anaerobic. The ability to ride longer distances, like a 100 km or 100 miler or really anything more than a few miles, is based on efficient and strong aerobic riding, not extended anaerobic riding.

Power at lactate threshold would seem to be a more significant measure for a recreational rider than say, short-term anaerobic power. For a strong rider the former could be maybe 200 watts, and the latter a lot higher for very brief efforts.
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Old 04-11-13, 07:51 AM   #13
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I'm 55 YO, biking REAL hard doing some steep climbs, I can hit 170. My average through a good ride is around 140. What I have noticed, since I feel I am in better shape, is long ago, when I would exercise, it would take me an hour to cool down. Now when I stop, my heart rate drops FAST! I can be back under 100 BPM from 170 in less than a minute. I hope that is a GOOD sign?

I lost 125 lbs over 10 years ago. Trying to extend my lifespan a little

I biked 4600 miles last year. This year will be hard to hit that, weather has been so bad, winter lasted forever here!
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Old 04-11-13, 08:39 AM   #14
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I have always heard that how quickly your heart rate drops after exercise is a good indicator of its health.

And, looking it up, this appears to be true. Seems like you want at least 12 bpm drop per minute.

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/h...cise-9062.html
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Old 04-11-13, 02:06 PM   #15
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Anything above 0 is good. I had my little heart attack in the upper 170s at 46 YO. I urge caution when doing an unsupervised cardiac stress test in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 04-11-13, 06:14 PM   #16
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I have always heard that how quickly your heart rate drops after exercise is a good indicator of its health.

And, looking it up, this appears to be true. Seems like you want at least 12 bpm drop per minute.

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/h...cise-9062.html
This article is based on work of Dr. Lauer and his group at the Cleveland Clinic. I believe the original work was done for older patients with preexisting heart conditions. His work was updated on a much bigger group in a study funded by the American Heart Association. In that study, a summary of which can be found here http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/104/16/1911.long which covered a much bigger group, more representative of the general population, the "magic number" was 18.

PLEASE don't let this thread digress into an internet "mine is bigger" fest. No one cares if you have a big number, and if everyone who has really good HRR starts posting how great they are, other people with smaller HRR - the ones who would probably benefit most from the discussion - will shy away.
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Old 04-11-13, 06:43 PM   #17
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It's probably not so much intensity as duration. For some people, even years of extended duration exercise doesn't seem to be a problem, with others, well, read this review: http://afibbers.org/resources/endurancesports.pdf
I probably don't really qualify as an excessive exerciser but......I would prefer a fib to v fib. Which is not what the article is about, of course.
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Old 04-11-13, 06:46 PM   #18
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Anything above 0 is good.
+1
When mine drops to 0, I stop and call for a ride.
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Old 04-12-13, 11:55 PM   #19
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You're doing great. It's the stress you put on your body by pushing hard that causes it to respond by getting fitter. I'm 62 and my resting HR is 53 and my max is somewhere close to 174.
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Old 04-13-13, 01:08 AM   #20
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To answer the OPs specific questions, at 58 my RHR is currently 48 (it has been as low as 43, and bounces to around 51 if I spend a month or so doing only light training). I don't know my max HR but it is certainly above 180 because I saw 181 a few months ago when chasing a kid up a hill. My lactate threshold HR is currently 158.

I train for racing, so may be one of those at risk of the structural changes referred to in the article cited by Terex. I am, however, unconcerned. In the first place, the Swiss professional cyclists were just that - professional cyclists - and they will have trained at volumes much higher than mine for many years. In the old days the pros did monster miles in training, many more than their equivalents today. In the second place, even with the increased incidence of VF, the long-term endurance exerciser tends to have lower mortality than the general population. In the third place, there seems to be very little data on the long-term impact of HIIT, which increasingly is supplanting very extended strenuous sessions for training purposes and which appears to have very beneficial short-term effects on various metabolic markers.

I think the "making your car last by not treating it like a rally driver" analogy is stupid. Your body is a biological system, not a mechanical one. It responds to stress not simply by wearing out, but by adapting and getting stronger. Your heart can become more efficient - increased stroke volume etc. - while remaining structurally normal. What kills it is depriving it of oxygen by sitting around and letting your vessels fur up.

The bottom line is that not engaging in exercise is much more dangerous than exercising, and that long-term vigorous exercisers tend to live longer and healthier lives even though some of them develop arrythmias. How much exercise is enough, in terms of longevity and retention of full function, is moot. I'm not aware that anyone has an answer. Personally I have tried both very extensive moderate exercise - five or six hours a day on the bike at touring pace, six days per week, for months at a time - and the shorter, more intensive training I do for racing, which is more like 12 hours per week but with sgnificant time spent above my LTHR. Both seem to result in my feeling conspicuously well. What that actually means in terms of health is imponderable, but the last time I had a reasonably comprehensive set of blood tests the results were described as "pristine".

I'd suggest an attitude of insouciant unconcern. If you are exercising regularly and going hard enough to get out of breath some of the time you are almost certainly doing yourself good. Very, very few of us will be going hard enough for long enough to put ourselves at risk of hypertrophy, and even those who are, are having fun doing it and are unlikely to die as a result.
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Old 04-13-13, 03:19 PM   #21
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Resting rate is 74, riding is 120,,,,, Crushing the pedals and close to passing out, can't speak, cant Lift off the seat, 150 - 160 tops
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Old 04-13-13, 06:08 PM   #22
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I hit my max today, 167. I don't like doing that. It felt like death. I used it as an excuse to dismount and walk up a hill.


Was it OK for me to say that? I didn't discourage anyone here, did I?
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Old 04-15-13, 04:24 AM   #23
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I hit my max today, 167. I don't like doing that. It felt like death. I used it as an excuse to dismount and walk up a hill.


Was it OK for me to say that? I didn't discourage anyone here, did I?
Dudelsack, how do you know that was your max? Seems to me that the max is very hard to experience and requires a sustained extreme effort? I don't know what I'd have to go through to convince myself I saw my max hr, but I don't think it would be pleasant. I do know that on some of our steeper hills I can run up to the 160's, and I tend to back off at that point - granny gears @50 rpm or so.

I'm not a doctor, but it seems to me that if it feels that bad, it's Not Recommended.
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Old 04-15-13, 04:28 AM   #24
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Dudelsack, how do you know that was your max? Seems to me that the max is very hard to experience and requires a sustained extreme effort? I don't know what I'd have to go through to convince myself I saw my max hr, but I don't think it would be pleasant.
Quite. If you haven't had to stop and throw up it's likely you haven't hit your max. Even then, put a gun to your head and you might have squeezed out a beat or two more.

But it is immaterial, really, max HR is not an important number for training purposes.
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Old 04-15-13, 04:34 AM   #25
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Quite. If you haven't had to stop and throw up it's likely you haven't hit your max. Even then, put a gun to your head and you might have squeezed out a beat or two more.

But it is immaterial, really, max HR is not an important number for training purposes.
As you say, quite!
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