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Heart Rate getting up to 180-190bpm

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Old 03-11-19, 05:56 PM
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UkuleleBill
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Heart Rate getting up to 180-190bpm

Ok, I am a 66yo with a recumbent and a Garmin ForeRunner watch.
About every 4th or 5th ride my Garmin shows my heart rate 180-190+ in the latter half of my rides. This is well above my maximum theoretical heart rate and is causing me some concern.
The thing is, I don't feel any different when this is supposedly going on.
I am wondering:
Is this some kind of reading error of the watch?
Is this normal when you are building distance and pace and pushing yourself
Is this atrial fibrillation?

Any thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 03-11-19, 06:24 PM
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79pmooney
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Calibrate your Garmin. Wear a wristwatch. Count your heartbeats over 6 seconds and multiply by 10. (That was our "monitor" back in the day.) See how your measured HR compares to what your Gamin says.

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Old 03-11-19, 06:47 PM
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Have you led a fairly active lifestyle and done a fair amount of stuff that gave you some cardio/aerobic exercise a fair portion of your life? If so, then you probably will have a much higher max HR than what the formulas tell you.

The high HR matches when you are doing a very high effort? If not, then maybe there are some inaccuracies in your wrist worn HR monitor.
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Old 03-11-19, 08:40 PM
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How is your hr when not riding? Is it all over the place?
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Old 03-11-19, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by UkuleleBill View Post
This is well above my maximum theoretical heart rate
There is no such thing as a maximum theoretical heart rate.

There is only your specific, actual maximum heart rate as tested.

220-age and other approximation calculators can be wildly inaccurate for any given individual.

The only way to know your max is to test.


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Old 03-11-19, 09:26 PM
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I am not a cardiologist, (but did complete EMT training a few years ago).
This reminded me of the story of Lennard Zinn, but his HR was hitting 218.
Here is an article that discusses the experience of Zinn and others: https://www.velonews.com/cycling-to-...durance-sports
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Old 03-11-19, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by UkuleleBill View Post
Ok, I am a 66yo with a recumbent and a Garmin ForeRunner watch.
About every 4th or 5th ride my Garmin shows my heart rate 180-190+ in the latter half of my rides. This is well above my maximum theoretical heart rate and is causing me some concern.
The thing is, I don't feel any different when this is supposedly going on.
I am wondering:
Is this some kind of reading error of the watch?
Is this normal when you are building distance and pace and pushing yourself
Is this atrial fibrillation?

Any thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Afib will potentially show up as a high HR reading but you will usually have other symptoms. If you're still able to ride a a moderate to high intensity then I wouldn't suspect Afib. I've had erratically high HR due to static when riding in dry conditions with a loose jersey. Usually happens at the beginning of a ride before I start to sweat.

Does the high HR match up with a harder effort or does it go up when you are just riding normally? What is your normal avg HR for the complete ride?
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Old 03-11-19, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I've had erratically high HR due to static when riding in dry conditions with a loose jersey. Usually happens at the beginning of a ride before I start to sweat.
Commonly called Flapping Jersey Syndrome (FJS).
There have been threads on here about it.
I get it in the warm part of the season when I'm only wearing a jersey, and no jacket etc over it.
And as you mentioned, it generally happens before you start to sweat.
A friend even called up Polar about the issue, and they told him it was due to static charge generated by flapping synthetic material.
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Old 03-11-19, 10:55 PM
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I have a Garmin watch with a built in heart rate sensor. It's good for counting heart beats at rest, and decent for running, but not very good for exercising in general.
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Old 03-11-19, 11:11 PM
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See a cardiologist. What if it is correct? Or worse, what if it is mistaking afib for high heart rate?

I'm 51 and in reasonably good shape. I can hit 185 bpm very briefly, and can maintain 160-170 for an hour in the gym. The usually-wrong formula would put your max at 154. You may be a blessed individual who can beat the formula by 30 BPM, but that would put your max at 184, which is sort of amazing. At 51 I beat the formula by about 16 BPM, but you're beating my max of 185 by six or more, while being 15 years my senior?

I would go get tested by a cardiologist; you've only got one heart, and unlike the appendix it serves a rather vital role in maintaining your quality of life. It's worth getting the opinion of someone who is not an armchair doctor, but an actual one.
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Old 03-11-19, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
See a cardiologist. What if it is correct? ....
But - A quick check with an ordinary wristwatch costs the OP nothing and will instantly tell him if his Garmin is correct. And placing his hand over his heart (which works just fine if he has just climbed a tough hill) will instantly tell him if his HR is doing something wild.

I sense an aversion here to looking at the obvious. Computers and electronics work wonders - when they work, but this is about a heart and heartrate. Nothing advanced is needed to know how fast it is beating, just any old timepiece. Yes, the cardiologist may need to be consulted, but spending that $1000 to see one (The OP's or his insurance plan's) only to find that his HR is fine but his Garmin is off, well, why not just buy a $20 Timex to check that first.

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Old 03-11-19, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by UkuleleBill View Post
Ok, I am a 66yo with a recumbent and a Garmin ForeRunner watch.
About every 4th or 5th ride my Garmin shows my heart rate 180-190+ in the latter half of my rides. This is well above my maximum theoretical heart rate and is causing me some concern.
The thing is, I don't feel any different when this is supposedly going on.
I am wondering:
Is this some kind of reading error of the watch?
Is this normal when you are building distance and pace and pushing yourself
Is this atrial fibrillation?

Any thoughts or experiences would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Post a link to a ride or two on Garmin Connect. Let us see this heart rate.
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Old 03-12-19, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
But - A quick check with an ordinary wristwatch costs the OP nothing and will instantly tell him if his Garmin is correct.
Not really because if it reads 80 sitting on the couch and that turns out to be correct, that doesn't mean it's also right at 180. And if it is, anybody will be working too hard to take a manual reading.

Also it's well known that optical sensors generally aren't super accurate for high intensity exercise, and the specific one in Garmin ForeRunners is especially not great for cycling.
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Old 03-12-19, 08:52 AM
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I had an older Forerunner as well for running, and without fail the HR would read crazy high readings, like 180-190 at the beginning of the run, like first ten minutes, and I know I'm not working that hard. I'd even taken HR reading the old-fashioned way just to confirm it wasn't me. After about ten minutes though, the readings were generally accurate. It only happened while running, though, not cycling I suspect it's the phenomenon @Shimagnolo talked about. Could be just a glitch with the Garmin stuff. IDK.
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Old 03-12-19, 09:09 AM
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+1 vote for check it against a Timex.

IIRC DCRainmaker noted wrist-based HRMs were not accurate while cycling, compared to a chest strap. It would only take half a minute to stop and check the anomalous reading with a manual count. Or, you could spend a half a day for the cardiologist appointment, jumping through insurance hoops, go through the insurance and medical history forms, get the resting BP/pulse/EKG, and if you're lucky you'll see the doctor for two minutes. if you're unlucky he'll set you up for a stress test, that's a couple more hours and another kilobuck between you and your insurance.
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Old 03-12-19, 09:33 AM
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I'm 52 and wear a HRM religiously during running and cycling. If I were physically able to ignore the respiratory fatigue and physical misery to force my heart past 180 I think I would literally die on side of the road.
I can make my HR get to 179 on a 2.5 mile climb near my house but it is a near death experience. Kudo's to you sir.
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Old 03-12-19, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I had an older Forerunner as well for running, and without fail the HR would read crazy high readings, like 180-190 at the beginning of the run, like first ten minutes, and I know I'm not working that hard. I'd even taken HR reading the old-fashioned way just to confirm it wasn't me. After about ten minutes though, the readings were generally accurate. It only happened while running, though, not cycling I suspect it's the phenomenon @Shimagnolo talked about. Could be just a glitch with the Garmin stuff. IDK.
Do you maintain a cadence around 180 spm? DCR complains a lot about optical sensors getting confused by your cadence.
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Old 03-12-19, 12:23 PM
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What equipment are you using? Garmin chest strap and snapped-on transmitter? Or Garmin strap with built-in transmitter? Garmin watch? Very good chance it's the strap or the transmitter's connection to the strap. When that happens, stop. If you have the snap-on transmitter, unsnap it, lick the connections, resnap. Either strap type, lick the rubber connection pads on the strap. That should fix it. As mentioned above, there's also a chance of jersey flap, which is a static electricity issue. Either way, your HR probably goes back to normal as soon as you stop. So do as above and get back to us.

Another possibility, if doing the above doesn't fix it, is that the electrical goodies inside the strap have gone bum. Chest straps only last for a few years, sometimes only 1 year, depending the the strap quality. I always have a spare strap for this reason. If you have the snap-on transmitter type, an $18 Polar strap works fine and can be purchased separately, as can the slightly nicer Polar strap for ~$34. If you have the built-in Garmin strap transmitter, buy the new snap-on Garmin type. All this available on Amazon.

OTOH, if you have some sort of wrist unit that doesn't use a chest strap, well, that's what you bought. Should have gotten the chest strap type, which also can have problems, but is usually much more reliable.

I don't mention the possibility that it could be your heart that's gone nuts, because that's not the problem. It's your equipment.
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Old 03-12-19, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Do you maintain a cadence around 180 spm? DCR complains a lot about optical sensors getting confused by your cadence.
Yep, my cadence is around 182 spm.
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Old 03-15-19, 07:47 PM
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What is spm?
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Old 03-15-19, 08:34 PM
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steps per minute. double what rpm is. Cadence on a bike it typically crank RPM. But I think runners think in terms of steps. So SPM makes sense for them.
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Old 03-15-19, 09:49 PM
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Ok thanks I never heard that term before.
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Old 03-15-19, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Not really because if it reads 80 sitting on the couch and that turns out to be correct, that doesn't mean it's also right at 180. And if it is, anybody will be working too hard to take a manual reading.

Also it's well known that optical sensors generally aren't super accurate for high intensity exercise, and the specific one in Garmin ForeRunners is especially not great for cycling.
I used to use the wrist watch approach when I could hit 200 at the tops of hills. Didn't realize it was impossible.

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Old 03-16-19, 09:57 AM
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At 62 I would hit 220 running hill sprints, but I was in vomit territory. (Chest strap) Five years later it seems 175-80 is about my max. I never found those charts had much meaning for me.

But, if I was hitting 180-90 on a normal ride...I'd be worried, and I would be seeing my cardiologist.
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Old 03-17-19, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
See a cardiologist. What if it is correct? Or worse, what if it is mistaking afib for high heart rate?

I'm 51 and in reasonably good shape. I can hit 185 bpm very briefly, and can maintain 160-170 for an hour in the gym. The usually-wrong formula would put your max at 154. You may be a blessed individual who can beat the formula by 30 BPM, but that would put your max at 184, which is sort of amazing. At 51 I beat the formula by about 16 BPM, but you're beating my max of 185 by six or more, while being 15 years my senior?

I would go get tested by a cardiologist; you've only got one heart, and unlike the appendix it serves a rather vital role in maintaining your quality of life. It's worth getting the opinion of someone who is not an armchair doctor, but an actual one.
I'm 64 and my HR max is 185 or so, and I hit it usually while climbing on the bike. I've been tested by a cardiologist and he basically said "have fun riding up that mountain". No concern at all on his part. And I'm hardly an amazing specimen. I'm slightly overweight and I used to be more than slightly. I also have the same problems with my HR monitor, it sometimes does go crazy but usually at the beginning of the ride before the sweat builds up and gives it a good connection. I had an older Garmin and then I bought a Wahoo Tickr and they both do the same thing. I've also experienced an HR of 220 in the middle of a ride according to the bike computer and I wasn't even riding that hard and I just assumed it was the equipment because I didn't feel anything. It settled back down.

Don't be too alarmed, when you see it having problems check it with a watch.
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