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  1. #1
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    Heart Rate question

    Used my friend's heart rate monitor today to play squash and ride the spincycle at my club. I am 45 , he is 47, both very fit. Anyway, when he had the hear rate monitor on he got his heart rate up to 206 BPM during one of our long rallies. His heart rate was around 175 on average during the match. When I strapped it on for a game, my heart rate only went to about 155 during a long rally, during the normal play of the match it was in the 140 range.

    After the match I decided to ride the spin cycle for a bit with his monitor on. Again, my heart rate was around 140 when I was riding fairly hard and when I stood up and really pushed it (to the point where I couldn't peddle anymore), my heart rate only went to 160. That appears to be as high as I can get it.

    I would say in general I would be fitter than my friend, can rally longer, recover quicker, a little faster and would not tire as quickly, BUT, I am not sure what these heart rate levels are telling me.
    Can you help me out
    Tommy Canuck

  2. #2
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    You are not your wallet...
    You are not your bike...
    You are not your heart rate.

    Some ppl just have higher heart rates. I always get crap from the guys on my team since I regularly race at like 195bpms. They think I'm doping with hummingbird DNA

  3. #3
    The Question Man
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    yeah that's not a good thing to have your heart rate that high. He probably needs to see a physician about that. Sustaining anything over 175 for long periods of time is dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
    yeah that's not a good thing to have your heart rate that high. He probably needs to see a physician about that. Sustaining anything over 175 for long periods of time is dangerous.
    bull****. some poeple just have higher heart rates. your friends max is probably around 200, while yours is probably lower, like 175 or so.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
    yeah that's not a good thing to have your heart rate that high. He probably needs to see a physician about that. Sustaining anything over 175 for long periods of time is dangerous.

    You have no idea what you're talking about.

  6. #6
    The Question Man
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    well are you guys going on what you think is right or what a doctor told you b/c a cardiologist is my source. I like to listen to cardiologists when something concerning my heart is involved.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
    yeah that's not a good thing to have your heart rate that high. He probably needs to see a physician about that. Sustaining anything over 175 for long periods of time is dangerous.

    It's good for you to listen to a physician about YOUR health, but there's no indication as to what this has to do with him. Each person is going to be individual with how they respond to effort, and it makes no sense to take the advice of someone else that's given to them because they happen to have cardiac problems.

    Koffee

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    The Question Man
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    that's the thing though. His advice to me wasn't constricted to my heart. At least he made it seem that people in general shouldn't sustain that high a heart rate for that long. The original poster asked for thoughts so I gave him advice I heard from a doctor. Then two guys rip into me for no reason. Really classy!

  9. #9
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    Still, doctors don't have degrees or certificates in exercise physiology. Not to say they aren't intelligent, but with all the advancements in research and with all the new stuff that comes out with regards to training cardiovascular, I wouldn't take that advice into account. If someone has a high max heart rate, there's absolutely no reason they cannot do training at higher heart rates, provided they don't have a personal medical problem. These days, it's actually recommended to do some training at higher heart rates, because the less time you do spend there, the more likely your max heart rate will decline. Athletes with high heart rates can slow the decline of max heart rate by continuing to design sensible, sound training programs that allow them to take their heart rates high enough so they can maintain a high max heart rate, assuming that the training program is planned realistically and sensibly and allows for a variety of training zones for them to train with. It's not ALL about training high heart rates, but it's about challenging yourself on occasion to preserve your ability to raise your heart rate during intense, anaerobic bouts of exercise.

    Lately, studies have shown that it's also possible for some people to have very high max heart rates genetically, while others can have low max heart rates genetically. For instance, I have a friend who is the same age as me, and a few years ago, we compared our heart rate tests. My lactate threshold was at 159, while hers was at 131. She maxed out at about 153, and I maxed out at 199. Same age, totally different results. But I would definitely say she was (and still is) fitter than me. She could spank me anytime in a bike race.

    It all depends on what your abilities are as an individual. Comparing yourself against another individual, and taking their results to train for yourself will only do yourself more harm than good.

    Koffee

  10. #10
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    granted all of what you said is true, but I'm not looking at max heart rate. I was commenting on sustaining that high of a heart rate for extended periods of time. I was saying that a doctor told me it is dangerous for anyone to sustain (key word) that high a heart rate. I was just a little peeved at the two guys who answered my post so rudely.

  11. #11
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Here's the scoop on heart rates:

    In general, as your fitness improves, for a given level of activity your heart rate will be lower.

    However, the maximum heart rate you can achieve is almost completely set by genetics and decreases with age (not fitness). Everyone has their own maximum heart rate and higher is neither better or worse.

    The common maximum heart rate prediction equation is 220-age=max rate. So, at 45 years old, your predicted maximum heart rate is 220-45=175 beats per minute. However, there are two caveats to this. First is that there is a wide variation in individual maximum rates. Second is that it is very difficult to achieve your maximum heart rate. You generally have to be quite motivated to do so. Remember though, that a higher maximum heart rate does not equate to better fitness or even a better fitness potential. It is what it is and there is nothing you can do about it.

    Assuming all things were equal in your and your friends squash game, your average heart rate results would appear to confirm your suspiscion about being in better shape than your friend. But there are really too many variables to form that conclusion with any confidence.

    By the way, as far as I know, healthy people need not fear exerting themselves above any particular heart rate. Of course, people who have been advised by their doctor to keep their heart rate below some level, should heed that advice.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
    granted all of what you said is true, but I'm not looking at max heart rate. I was commenting on sustaining that high of a heart rate for extended periods of time. I was saying that a doctor told me it is dangerous for anyone to sustain (key word) that high a heart rate. I was just a little peeved at the two guys who answered my post so rudely.

    And I understand. But the reason why it's NOT dangerous is because you TRAIN at high heart rates. And by doing that, you can maintain your high max heart rate.

    I don't mean train AT your max heart rate. That would be suicide. But training at higher heart rates is necessary if you intend on remaining competitive. Sometimes, you'll be racing or riding, and you'll find that you're at a very high heart rate. If you haven't trained at higher heart rates, there's no way you'll be able to sustain that activity for long. For instance, I train up to about 91% max heart rate. This is good, because when I do my tours in Italy and I'm NOT used to doing hills, and my heart rate skyrockets to about 90% heart rate from that climbing, I can still continue to climb, since I've trained at that heart rate. Had I not trained at such a high heart rate, I'd probably pass out from exertion.

    Still, there are some people who just have HIGH heart rates naturally, which means they have high max heart rates (which is why I'm bringing up max heart rates to begin with). In this case, for them to work out without feeling like they're at a very high intensity is not a big deal for them. So for a doctor to take an arbitrary number and classify that as a "high" heart rate, then warn against training around or above that number makes no sense. If my doctor told me that training above 170 beats was deadly, I'd look at them crazy. On a good day, I can hit that number without effort.

    But then again, if we start going into detail, we'll have to talk about lactate threshold and VO2 max, and that's another monster that takes too much time.

    Try reading a few books on the subject- I recommend starting with the Sally Edwards books. She's very good, and she knows A LOT about heart rate training.

    Koffee

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
    granted all of what you said is true, but I'm not looking at max heart rate. I was commenting on sustaining that high of a heart rate for extended periods of time. I was saying that a doctor told me it is dangerous for anyone to sustain (key word) that high a heart rate. I was just a little peeved at the two guys who answered my post so rudely.
    I think that you should cry about it. he's wrong.

  14. #14
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    how old are you? "You should go cry about it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
    how old are you? "You should go cry about it."
    the question is, how old are you?. you're the one who can't let their HR go over 175.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    the question is, how old are you?. you're the one who can't let their HR go over 175.
    old enough to know I go to a better school than NC State

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phatman
    you're the one who can't let their HR go over 175.

    lol....

  18. #18
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    I find this heart rate issue interesting and appreciate all your help. I have asked Koffee in a seperate email to try to help me with designing a program for me to work with, so I am looking forward to that as well. I just found it interesting that his heart rate would go so high and mine stayed so much lower. I really didn't know whether that was good ,bad or indifferent although I felt more at ease knowing I was around 145-150. I was afraid to continue the rally when I saw his heart was at 206. Thought he was going to disintegrate on the court !!
    P.S He was too worn out to ride the bike with me after the match, so maybe he was pushing too hard. I'll give him a day off and kick his butt again Wednesday. I told him years ago that they call me the Greyhound, just balls and bones!!

  19. #19
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    Max heart rate is an individual thing, and it decreases with age. The aforementioned cardiologist stated that sustained high heart rates are dangerous, and in some cases it is. However, doctors in general, and cardiologists specifically do not generally deal with young, healthy athletes. The cardiologists' experience with heart rates in the 180-220 range are generally in patients with malignant arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation/flutter with rapid ventricular response, and supraventricular tachycardias. They don't often (if ever) deal with healthy, young athletes with good hearts.

    The danger with those arrhythmias isn't just the high rate (though high rates in unhealthy hearts is indeed dangerous), but that the pattern of contraction of the heart muscle isn't well suited to maximizing blood flow, and actually decreases blood flow when the heart muscle itself is demanding more. The elevated heart rate of the trained athlete is on the other hand quite optimized for increasing blood flow, and thus not harmful over reasonable periods of time (i.e. not constantly for days).

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    Let me make this absolutely clear. When it comes to questions about your heart, please ask YOUR doctor first! As someone with a Master's degree in exercise science as well as being CSCS certified, with distinction, please take the advice given in here with a grain of salt. For the record, a cardiologist does in fact have extensive training in exercise physiology which is far beyond the level of some alphabet soup certified something or other. Much of the research they depend on is conducted at the university level on both trained and untrained subjects. Further, please recognize that because a test has been completed and published, taking it as an absolute is analogous to reading the editorial section of a newspaper in effort to obtain factual information. Be careful about what you read, including in here. The subject which you are asking about requires a much longer reply than can be competently answered on a message board. Again, see your doctor first.

    As far as the private messages, I do not give advice over the net. One reason for that is there is not a competent trainer alive who will work with you until they have had a medical screen completed. This forum is a fun way to check out what other people are doing, but as far as training prescription it borders on malpractice.
    Last edited by Eman; 12-18-04 at 03:45 PM.

  21. #21
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    There was am article in Bicycling mag in October 2003 entitled Riding With (My) Heart where the author indicated that some, but not all, cardiologists advise there is a 7-fold increase in your risk of dying from the exercise when you exceed 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate. The individual had some particular heart problems, but the advice applies to the public at large rather than just this individual based on his specific medical circumstances. Of course the paradox, as pointed out in a sidebar at the end of the article, is that heavy exercise such as cycling helps you increase your odds of avoiding death while at the same time you are at a heightened risk of death.

    FWIW.

  22. #22
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    How many healthy fit people have ever been to see a cardiologist? Not many. The point is that cardiologists see patients that need their care and therefore they are biased toward that population when it comes to advice. I gave a printout of my HR file from the Assault on Mt Mitchell to a cardiologist friend and he was astounded. He remarked on how I could maintain a high HR for hours while most of his patients have to stop a treadmill stress test after a few minutes. As Koffee said, a well thought out structured training plan will incorporate appropriate high intensity training. But the key is to give the body the rest it needs to improve from that effort.

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    It would be comical if it was not so dangerous to read how people with such a small amount of knowledge are questioning doctors. I am one of the few at work who does not as of yet possess a Ph. D. in either exercise physiology or a related health science. I could only imagine repeating to them any of the comments that are posted in here.

    A little bit of knowledge regurgitated irresponsibly can do a lot of harm. If you cannot understand that it is even more crucial that you obtain advice on health, training and nutrition from someone qualified. As someone who has worked with both Olympic and professional athletes as well as individuals who are fighting to prolong their life, it is hard to remain silent when I read irresponsible postings; however, this is my last post on this subject.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eman
    It would be comical if it was not so dangerous to read how people with such a small amount of knowledge are questioning doctors. I am one of the few at work who does not as of yet possess a Ph. D. in either exercise physiology or a related health science. I could only imagine repeating to them any of the comments that are posted in here.
    While very good at what we do, I find your complete faith in physicians baffling for somebody so well educated. Doctors aren't infallible, and they're not omniscient. There's nothing wrong with questioning a doctor, believe it or not. And for your information, physicians in general get little training in exercise physiology (one short chapter during physiology class during med school, IIRC), and cardiologists have zero rotations during their residency and fellowships on exercise physiology. A lot of what they know is also applicable to exercise physiology, but that's not where their experience and training is. You'll find very few cardiologists who keep up with the field on their own because that's not where the money is.

    Lighten up, Frances.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Ranger
    There was am article in Bicycling mag in October 2003 entitled Riding With (My) Heart where the author indicated that some, but not all, cardiologists advise there is a 7-fold increase in your risk of dying from the exercise when you exceed 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate.
    The trick here is that if you're in the kind of shape where you can maintain that kind of sustained effort, your base risk of cardiac death is approaching zero. Seven to eight multiplied by a number approaching zero is still pretty damned close to zero. I suspect that the risk of a cyclist dying from trauma is much higher than the risk of death from a sudden cardiac event, perhaps by as much as a factor of 100 or more. So I wouldn't worry too much about your heart stopping during riding so much as getting whacked by the drunk driver coming the other way.

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