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Should I worry about my super high exercising heart rate?

(18 Posts)
rookiemere Sun 03-May-15 16:18:21

Hi there, I am a 45 yr old semi-regular exerciser, non smoker, don't drink very much. I'm about 25.5 BMI and have a high body fat, although it was high even when I weighed a lot less.

I use a polar heart rate when exercising, recently I've started doing the park run 5k and am absolutely addicted, it's such good fun. This Saturday when I was going for a new PB my heart rate was around 168 for most of the run, then when I really pushed myself for the last 2k it went up to about 175. In other exercises such as metafit it generally goes up to around 150 max or around 100 - 130 when doing weight based workout in the gym.

It feels hard when I'm working out, but not horribly so and it goes down quite quickly to below 100. My resting heart rate is around 71-75, which is probably higher than it should be.

My question is, is it safe for my heart rate to be so high when running? It's not like I'm achieving super athletic results - my time for the 5k was 33 mins 33 sec, so if I didn't push myself then I'd probably be > 40 mins which I don't fancy.

MarniRose Sun 03-May-15 16:20:21

It's usually completely normal. My heart rate is usually 155 or more when I'm running. Has always been that way.

rookiemere Sun 03-May-15 16:24:44

So 175 is ok then? I don't want to be doing myself any harm, equally I don't want to be last.

suzannecanthecan Sun 03-May-15 16:25:30

I wouldnt worry, running tends to be the thing that pushes your heart rate up the most, I'm a few years older than you, my hr is usually around 145 when I run but sometimes it goes up to 180 +
As you get fitter it should reduce somewhat so that for the same speed/level of exertion you have a lower hr.

ivykaty44 Sun 03-May-15 16:25:35

If you are unsure about you heart rate then I would keep a good diary of your resting rate - in bed each morning before rising. Then keep notes on your hr when running etc and see if there is a pattern.

You may find you feel unwell the day after a raise and therefore were coming g down with s bug for example.

If you feel it is an issue please seek advice from your go, but take your notes to show so they have an idea of what's been happening.

Well done on the pb

suzannecanthecan Sun 03-May-15 16:29:40

I dont think you'll be doing yourself any harm.
Sustaining very high heart rates for several hours at a time as with extreme/elite endurance athletes is thought to be associated with possible heart complications, but 175 for a few miles I really wouldnt worry.
Pushing yourself for some stretches is a good thing I'd say, it's what triggers your cardio vascular system to adapt and become more efficient

Mrsmorton Sun 03-May-15 16:35:02

175 isn't that high. It's really not when you're running.
I agree that monitoring your morning HR is a good way to see how well you are and how much fitter you're getting.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 03-May-15 16:38:28

To calculate Max heart rate: 220- age. So you are fine smile And that's a pretty inaccurate way of doing it - even higher is fine too

suzannecanthecan Sun 03-May-15 16:44:10

to be clear, max heart rate is not a guideline for how high one ought to allow ones HR to go, rather its a very rough guide to the maximum rate at which your heart is capable of beating.

It declines by roughly 1bpm per year.
I think it's a pretty vague formula, mine ought to be about 170 but I've seen it up to 195 ish

MarniRose Sun 03-May-15 17:05:47

175 is not something you need to worry about as it sounds normal for YOU

rookiemere Sun 03-May-15 17:48:50

That's good then, thanks for the responses, I'm glad I have nothing to worry about.

MrsMook Sun 03-May-15 20:45:29

I got a pb on a 10k recently and my HR was consistently at about 175, so that was just under an hour. My breathing was comfortable enough.

When I started C25k, my HR shot up to that zone in the 90 second runs.

What is useful to be aware of as signs of improved fitness, is decreasing resting HR, and a shorter time for your HR to return to normal.

Early on, my HR was elevated for about 20 mins after. Now it's normal while I'm still doing my stretches.

ArgyMargy Mon 04-May-15 08:48:05

Don't take any notice of these "max heart rate" numbers - the science behind them is dubious at best. I've been exercising for many years and my heart rate often goes above the supposed maximum but I've never dropped down dead.

suzannecanthecan Mon 04-May-15 09:06:21

‎The point is not that it is dangerous to exceed a certain heart rate, rather that for each person there is a limit to the rate at which your heart can beat.

So if my MHR is 180 then no matter how hard I go my heart is not able to beat faster than 180.
It declines as we age, irrespective of how fit we are‎

Indomitable Mon 04-May-15 09:14:32

I have the same concern. Except I'm about 10 years younger and heart rate is usually 180+ while I run (or jog slowly. It sometimes tops out at 190+).

It's always been high. I asked the nurse the other day and she didn't seem bothered. It returns to normal fairly swiftly but only if I stop. Slowing down has no effect, only walking/stopping.

Sometimes it drops to ~150 while I run and I feel a lot better! But this is not the norm. I thought the hills were a factor but I had 25mins of 180+ on the treadmill the other day.

So, I don't know. But yours seems better than mine, OP.

rookiemere Mon 04-May-15 11:53:36

This is all very good news. On Saturday during the run, when I saw my heart rate was nudging up beyond 169 for the first 3k I deliberately slowed down a bit because I wasn't sure if that was safe ( I didn't have time to check my watch as much for the last 2k plus my desire to get an ok time trumped any other concernsgrin)
This means I could push it a bit harder for all the run, hopefully reducing my time a bit. Thank you.

Bumply Mon 04-May-15 12:18:01

I'm 52 and my HR is in the 140s when I'm doing a long slow run, 150s-160s when I'm running a race or doing interval session and can reach low 170s at the top of a hill when I'm doing hill repeats.

Here's an article on working out your personal heart rate zones for different types of running.

ivykaty44 Mon 04-May-15 14:44:01

A higher than normal heart rate can be the sign of an under lying health problem so it shouldn't be ignored. It doesn't mean you would feel unwell with a higher heart rate but it could be best to have it checked by a go.

The last thing anyone would want to do is damage their heart in the long term and have health problems with their heart

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