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  1. #1
    Junior Member dthoman's Avatar
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    HR and BP for 50+ year olds

    How many of you keep track of your heart rate and blood pressure on a regular basis? Iíve noticed something peculiar (I think) about mine and biking. My normal (winter) BP is about 130/80 with a HR of 68. My exercise level is moderate. I use a trainer or weights 3 or 4 times a week for 45 minutes. However, when I can ride several times a week (maybe 75 to 100 miles, total) my BP drops to 110/65 and my HR rises to 85+. These readings are fairly consistent throughout the day (unless its been a bad work day and my BP maxís). Has anyone else experienced this, or am I (as my wife insists) weird.

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    I'm sure your wife knows best...so you must be wierd.

    I'm 47 and track mine. My blood pressure falls when I ride often as well. My HR will usually fall too unless I over train. Are you getting enough rest?

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    I use a heart monitor whenever I am exercising, and not at other times. On a ride, I have to progressively get my HR up. 130 rest-140 rest -150 rest and then I am ready to abuse my body. I have an upper age limit of 165, and generraly ride to keep a max of 155. Hills do mean that if I am feeling good, then I can keep up 160, and the final fling will be up to 165. However, on the technical trails and very steep slopes where Experience and capability counts, I like to show the less competent youngsters how to do it, and HR can reach 170+, just to prove I can do it and they can't

    At the gym however, I rarely get above 155, and to be honest, can't be bothered to go higher. Workouts at the gym are for cardio vascular so like to keep a steady 150 or just over for each 20 minute exercise stint.

    Resting heart rate was around 75 in december. with the extra exercise I am doing at present it is getting nearer 60, but I do not often sit still long enough to get it that low, nor can I be bothered to measure it.

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    Junior Member dthoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lsd87
    I'm sure your wife knows best...so you must be wierd.

    I'm 47 and track mine. My blood pressure falls when I ride often as well. My HR will usually fall too unless I over train. Are you getting enough rest?

    My wife doesn't bike so I"m not sure she knows best.

    I try and get 8 hours a night.

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    I meant rest days for your heart...not training every day. Overtraining will increase your heart rate. And I meant your wife knows best about you being weird...after all she insists it's so.

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    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Intense physical exercise will stretch your blood vessels, and afterwards there is a corresponding drop in your blood pressure. Well-known physical phenomenon.

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    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dthoman
    How many of you keep track of your heart rate and blood pressure on a regular basis? Iíve noticed something peculiar (I think) about mine and biking. My normal (winter) BP is about 130/80 with a HR of 68. My exercise level is moderate. I use a trainer or weights 3 or 4 times a week for 45 minutes. However, when I can ride several times a week (maybe 75 to 100 miles, total) my BP drops to 110/65 and my HR rises to 85+. These readings are fairly consistent throughout the day (unless its been a bad work day and my BP maxís). Has anyone else experienced this, or am I (as my wife insists) weird.
    If your basal heart rate (the rate on awakening) is higher than normal, then you are not getting proper rest and the body is stressed. When I started riding, my resting heart rate was 52, and it is now 44. BP of course drops in response to regular aerobic exercise.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  8. #8
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    ... When I started riding, my resting heart rate was 52, and it is now 44. ...
    Nice work. You just passed ahead of me in a game where low score wins.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  9. #9
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    I have some problems with mine in that it beats irregularly and I have a dodgy valve which allows blood back into my lungs which makes me a little more breathless than I would otherwise be normally.

    I had all the tests and my BP was a tad high but since I've been riding, training and racing (I'm not real good in the sprints) my pressure and HR are both down. yipeeeeeee!!
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    Nice work. You just passed ahead of me in a game where low score wins.
    What amazes me the most, is that when I was winning the national masters cross country championship around a quarter of a century ago, my resting pulse was 48. Now from biking 5 days a week since mid-May (when I started) I cruise along at a wonderful 44, and I suspect I can go lower as I continue to build my base. I just started interval work for my first competition - I'm excited!!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

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    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    What amazes me the most, is that when I was winning the national masters cross country championship around a quarter of a century ago, my resting pulse was 48. Now from biking 5 days a week since mid-May (when I started) I cruise along at a wonderful 44, and I suspect I can go lower as I continue to build my base. I just started interval work for my first competition - I'm excited!!
    Hmm! If you exercise enough, will the following happen?

    48
    44
    38
    34
    28
    24
    18
    14
    8
    4
    0
    ??????

  12. #12
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Heart rate:

    Since my continuous Atrial Fibrillation, my heart rate is controlled only by medication (beta blockers) and some response to exercise. Additionally, I get about 70% heart output as compared to August, 2004.

    So, the only way I know is by perceived tiredness/exertion. I find that I can exert myself pretty hard and have been successful in building up my output.

    Blood pressure:

    I do monitor it daily, and have had a rather remarkable and noticeable lowering the past 4 weeks, while reducing my meds. Not sure just why, except quite a weight loss, and being on the CPAP machine.

    Very difficult now for me to monitor my "fitness."

  13. #13
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Hmm! If you exercise enough, will the following happen?

    48
    44
    38
    34
    28
    24
    18
    14
    8
    4
    0
    ??????
    Fox, I had a training partner back in the mid 70's who had a heart rate in the low 30's. It was the oddest thing to listen to his pulse. I like the above sequence to about the 30's, but I would just as soon stop there. My fiance's deceased husband was in incredible shape. He was a very active triathalete, and one day during a swimming training period, he sufferred sudden cardiac arrest. The autopsy revealed no coronary arterial blockage. It was discovered that he had something that is not usually tested, but can lead to SCA - LDL pattern B.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  14. #14
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    Waking pulse is 57. I generally work out on the bike in high 150's-low 160's (zone 3 - 4). Intervals in zone 5 High 160's to mid 170's.

    I have nominally high blood pressure and am taking Lopressor for it. My bp has been normal to nominally high at times dispite it. I weight almost 250 and am currently losing weight. I imagine that bp will decrease with excess weight.

    This is a great topic. We should watch ourselves at this age if we are going to keep up with the younger whipper-snappers.

  15. #15
    Lawman
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    I bought a road bike a year ago and started riding 2-3 times a week. My blood pressure dropped from 125/75 to 115/68. My resting pulse is about the same at 54-58. I always ride with a pulse monitor. The biggest changes are that (i) I can comfortably ride a 7% hill at a pulse of 170-175 when I used to have a very tough time sustaining 150-160 and (ii) I can comfortably ride a more or less flat course at a pulse of 140 for an hour or two when I used to be worn out after an hour at 120-130.

  16. #16
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Heart rate:

    Since my continuous Atrial Fibrillation, my heart rate is controlled only by medication (beta blockers) and some response to exercise. Additionally, I get about 70% heart output as compared to August, 2004.

    So, the only way I know is by perceived tiredness/exertion. I find that I can exert myself pretty hard and have been successful in building up my output.

    Blood pressure:

    I do monitor it daily, and have had a rather remarkable and noticeable lowering the past 4 weeks, while reducing my meds. Not sure just why, except quite a weight loss, and being on the CPAP machine.

    Very difficult now for me to monitor my "fitness."

    I had a severe problem with beta bolckers in that they would not allow my heart rate to get above 130, wheras I would have hoped to get it to 170 as a max at that time. No matter what I tried, with the BB's at 130, it felt as though I was at 160. Legs were getting the burn, lungs were not working, and I was not enjoying the riding at all.
    What I did was instead of taking the BB in the morning and then riding, I would take it the night before, do the ride and then take a BB after the ride. This enabled me to get the HR up to a more respectable level on the ride. Incidentally, I came off the BB's after about 18months, but I did it gradually, with the co-operation of my doctor, even though he could not understand why I wanted to come off them

  17. #17
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    jhglaw.

    Are you riding consistently in 160's 170's. could be a concern. Most cycling trainers suggest 220 minus your age as you maximum heart rate. You should be able to work efficiently at 80 to 85 percent of that number, which (if you are in your fifties) should be in maybe the 150'.

    For example: I am 53 220 minus 53 = 167 (my calculated max). 85 percent of that is my lactic threshold (142 beats per minute.) These are approximations of course and my actual numbers are a little higher. I usually hang out around 160 bpm's. A more accurate test is a field test. Pick a flat to rolling uninterupted 3 mile course. Warm up then start out on the course. Build up to your fastest speed, then back off a tad. You are now at your lactic threshold or about 85 percent of your VO max. This number fo course will "bracket down" as you become more fit.

    Working in the appropriate zones coupled with adequate rest should help you be come stronger, faster and avoid overtraining injuries. We 50 plus'ers don't heal very quickly.

    Just a concern. If I am totally off base here, I was just being a know-it all. Please disregard.
    Last edited by Metro; 02-16-05 at 12:55 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Most cycling trainers suggest 220 minus your age as you maximum heart rate. You should be able to work efficiently at 80 to 85 percent of that number, which (if you are in your fifties) should be in maybe the 150'.


    Just a concern. If I am totally off base here, I was just being a know-it all. Please disregard.
    The 220 - age is only a very broad, usually incorrect calculation. It was thought of by two doctors as they reviewed some medical records on an airplane flight. No basis in research.

    There are many other more sophisticated "formulas" for calculating MHR, but the best way is to have a test to see.

    And we 50+rs aren't really that fragile regarding our heart rates.

    Here is a recent posting on this exact topic from an expert on the ACE (American Council for Exercise) forum:


    If something is written down often enough, people will begin to believe it is true.

    We see so often the generic Max Heart Rate calculation formula 220 - age. I hear so many people say things like:
    "I'm 40 and my HR got up to 180, but I felt fine. Should I go see a doctor?"
    "I'm trying to exercise in my target HR but I feel like I'm killing myself."

    I'm hoping to raise people's awareness of just how flawed 220 - age is. It is not useless. It is easy to remember, easy to calculate, and may make a reasonable estimate for much of the population.

    However, it has a standard error of about 10 bpm (depending on your source). Standard error means that ~67% of the population will fall within 10 beats of the formula. 95% of the population will have a range of 40 beats per minute (20 to either side). Another way to think about it is that 1/3 of your clients will fall 10 or more beats per minutes away from the 220 - age formula. 1 in 20 may be 20 beats away from the formula.

    For example, say you have a 40 year old client with resting HR of 70:
    220 - 40 = 180 theoretical maxHR.
    Based on that, say you suggest a targetHR of 80% HRR = 158.
    If your client's actual maxHR is just one standard deviation lower (170), then you've inadvertantly suggested a target of 88% of maxHRR.

    The ACE Personal Trainer Manual just barely mentions this. If you want to read a lot more about it, someone recently pointed out the following excellent article:
    http://www.css.edu/users/tboone2/asep/Robergs2.pdf
    Highly recommended reading if you use target heart rates.


    quote:...takes into consideration the person's resting heart rate.

    To clarify, most target heart range recommendations rely either on % of MaxHR, or % of Heart Rate Reserve (which incorporates resting heart rate and MaxHR). Either one relies on a reasonably accurate assessment of MaxHR.

    Heart Rate Reserve & lactate threshold

    Frisbee wrote: I take 220-age-RHR x 65% + RHR = THR

    That's the basic Karvonen (heart rate reserve) method with an estimated MaxHR. That is the same formula I used in my calcuation above, but I didn't write out all the steps of the math. I'll restate the example using 65% and show more math:

    Example: say you have a 40 year old client with resting HR of 70:

    220 - 40 = 180 theoretical maxHR.

    Carrying out your formula for a 65% target:

    (180 - 70)*.65 + 70 = 72 + 70 = 142 suggested target heart rate.

    Now, let's say your client's actual max heart rate is one standard deviation lower (170). That would mean the calculations should have looked like this:

    (170 - 70)*.65 + 70 = 72 + 70 = 135 ACTUAL 65% of HRR.

    The recommendation of 142 would really be recommendation for 72% of HRR.

    It is unlikely that your client's perceived exertion would match your expectations. She is working a lot harder than you would expect.

    Resting heart rate provides a correction, but it is not enough to counter the fallibility of 220 - age.

    Frisbee wrote: what about lactic acid threshold testing?

    If you mean in a lab with blood draws, it provides excellent information about pace. However, lactate threshold is, fortunately, quickly trained. Because it is changing, your client should in theory have this checked regularly. I don't imagine I will ever have clients willing to subject themselves to regular laboratory lactate threshold testing, let alone afford it. (The same test would, however, probably get me a good working MaxHR.)

    If you mean using normal models to estimate lactate threshold, I find them difficult to apply. The only common non-lab, yet well accepted test I'm aware of is the "point of deflection" method. In my limited experience, it is hard to zero in on that point of deflection. It is an interesting test to give to a client who is interested and ready to train hard. But I make sure they are aware that it is a fallible test. Furthermore, I wouldn't give it to someone who was not in very good condition.

    The VO2Max tests in the ACE trainer manual (and similar tests from other sources), I've found to be quite fallible. I do use some of them because they aren't terrible. Also, there are enough to choose from that you can give one which is appropriate to the client. (E.g., few clients would be unable to handle the Rockport 1 mile walk test.)

    But the bottom line is that you must tune into your clients' percieved exertion so that you can recognize when your tests and formulas are off.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I don't know about VOmax , or what my actual MHR is, but at age 49 I do a competitive 30-miler every week in the summer, and after the 2 mile warmup, if my HR drops to 160 I'm loafing. No ill effects other than being hungry. I usually designate the next evening's ride as a 'recovery' ride at around 145 bpm.

  20. #20
    Lawman
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    Metro:

    I only ride short steep hills (15 minutes or less) at high pulse rates. I ride long steep hills at 150 or so. Most of the time I ride at 130 to 140.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Interesting that this topic came up today. I've got a small Tanita HR monitor (touch sensor) that I use to occasionally check waking HR and resting (recliner, in front of TV) HR. Got it down to 52 during American Idol (Simon Cowell, take note). This is quite low for me. My normal HR has always been in 70's & up, and my wife has always been much lower. I've been riding at a level a bit over my head on weekends, recovering Mon & Tues and doing Precor & treadmill Wed & THurs. Two weekends ago, I didn't fuel properly during rides, and my HR was elevated and variable until about Thurday - electrolyte imbalance. Last weekend, I fueled properly during ride, and had normal recovery. As the weather improves, and we all (in the northern hemisphere) get out more, we need to make sure that we're fueling properly and allowing adequate recovery time after difficult rides.

    During rides, I use a Polar with download capability. I also log training notes, BP, etc. It's really a good tool. But I can pretty much tell where I am without the monitor: 135-140, ride forever, 150 - starting to notice effort, 160 - out of zone beeper.

    When you take BP measurements, make sure you are sitting correctly (discuss with doctor or lookup online). If you use electronic consumer model, you should calibrate with a cuff/stethoscope unit. My wife did study of various consumer units and Omron is generally good, but not always accurate. Many others are junk. Costco is selling a downloadable BP unit which I may purchase. Details:

    Microlifeģ Premium Advanced Blood Pressure Monitor $75.59
    Detects Irregular Heartbeat
    Medical Grade Accuracy
    PC Software Tracks Progress
    Averages 3 Measurements Automatically

    http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...rodid=11007838

    My BP has been trending up with age (53) and I've become increasingly salt intolerant. I'm still working on how to keep adequate electrolyte balance during exercise without OD'ing on sodium.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    I concur DNVRFOX. It it was just a starting point. I am sure you read the entire post where I suggested a field test for a more accurate number. Thank you for all the extra testing data. I had read about some of that too and am still considering its ramifications. My concern was overtraining. Therefore I proposed a managable monitoring system.

    As you notice the conventional 220 minus age system yields a conservative number, which can be a good starting point for beginning cyclists. Field tests often reveal a higher threshold, which I agree is a more realistic number. There is also a preceived exertion system to be considered too. You are correct and put in into perspective wonderfully.

    Glad to hear that you only hit those numbers on hills JHGLW. It sounds like you are working within reasonable heart rate ranges.

  23. #23
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metro
    I concur DNVRFOX. It it was just a starting point. I am sure you read the entire post where I suggested a field test for a more accurate number. Thank you for all the extra testing data. I had read about some of that too and am still considering its ramifications. My concern was overtraining. Therefore I proposed a managable monitoring system.

    As you notice the conventional 220 minus age system yields a conservative number, which can be a good starting point for beginning cyclists. Field tests often reveal a higher threshold, which I agree is a more realistic number. There is also a preceived exertion system to be considered too. You are correct and put in into perspective wonderfully.

    Glad to hear that you only hit those numbers on hills JHGLW. It sounds like you are working within reasonable heart rate ranges.
    Just to clarify, I did not write the quoted text. It wa written by an ACE certified fitness expert and placed on the ACE Fitness forum.

    While I am in training for my certification, I am not there yet.

    Thanks for your feedback

  24. #24
    Senior Member Metro's Avatar
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    Thank YOU for the feedback. I can use the info myself to improve my training. I am still sorting out this training thing and have had concerns with accurate training zones. When I first started training, I was not working hard enough to make a difference. I was afraid to overtrain and began reading some material. This gives me a bit more to chew on. I am new to the forum and hope to learn a lot from the posts. Anything you feel might be helpful will be greatly appreciated.

  25. #25
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    I just started cycling last September and still use my HR monitor every ride. I'm 54, my max heart rate is 183 and my resting heart rate is 67. I haven't checked either since shortly after I started riding, so it's probably time to check them again.

    I do 3 weekday evening rides of 17 miles. Two are at recovery pace HR's of 130's to 140's. On the other ride, I keep my HR above 160. I do one longer weekend ride of 40 to 60 miles (a club ride), and mix in some hard sprints with easy riding.

    I think a heart rate monitor really helps, if you plan on training very seriously at all. I've noticed that sometimes, I feel great while holding that above 160 pace, and other times I feel like I'm really putting out a hard effort, but the HR monitor only shows 150. That tells me that my perceived effort is not a very reliable indicator of how hard I'm riding; the HR monitor is much better. I'm really not riding enough hours for overtraining to become a factor, but I still like keeping up with the easy data the HR monitor gives me.

    It's funny how quickly my casual riding for fitness turned into really trying to become a strong rider. It's a testament to the fun of bike riding, I think.
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    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

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