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Old 09-13-06, 10:58 PM   #1
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Heart rate and breathing quandary

Ok so this has been on my mind a couple weeks, and while I'm not losing sleep over it, I am curious if there's any meaning: Is there a difference between a high heart rate but not breathing hard, and breathing hard with a lower heart rate? Lemme esplain--

Couple weeks ago I was hiking with a couple buddies, and I was wearing my new toy, a wristband HRM. No chest strap; in order to get a pulse you have to hold fingers to the sensors. Something to play with, anyway. So I'm checking my heart rate at various points in the hike (2000' gain from 9000 to 11000 ft) and I'm in the 140-160 range. We were moving along briskly, so I wasn't terribly surprised. I wasn't breathing terribly hard, but working. I hear my friend behind me breathing like he's going to pop a gasket. He checks his pulse: he's in the 80s. That's right, he sounds like he's going to keel over and die, but his heart rate is downright Hannibal Lecter cool. I'm just the opposite, breathing with a good rhythm, but my heart's racing along like a hummingbird.

Is there any meaning to this difference? --other than just individual physiology? I found it interesting....
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Old 09-14-06, 04:43 AM   #2
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It is interesting. The closest I've experienced is that the better shape I'm in due to doing short intervals and climbing steep grades, the faster I get at a lower heart rate and about the same amount of breathing effort, possibly less. It's because I've raised my lactate threshold.

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Old 09-14-06, 05:56 AM   #3
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One explanation may be that you caught him after his heart rate recovered. This can be as quick as 20 seconds for some people. Heart rate and ventilation are not directly related.

Quick recovery -is- an indicator of fitness, but breathing hard contradicts that indicator. So, imho, he -may- be in good shape, but not for that specific activity, as fitness is activity specific.

Another explanation could be that your buddy needs to see a doctor. Maybe his heart should have been elevated, but it wasn't able to for whatever reason.

Googled: Keywords = ventilatory response and heart rate

Last edited by NoRacer; 09-14-06 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 09-14-06, 08:11 AM   #4
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I think it has to do with the ratio of aerobic/anaerobic expenditure. Anaerobic work causes constriction of the aorta and aerobic work does the opposite.

I notice when I lift weights my HR barely reaches 100, but I for some reason I could be short of breath.
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