British Heart Foundation
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Max pulse rate

Hi all newbie here, looking for advice on max pulse rate. 65 year old male always been fairly fit, non smoker. Had heart attack in 2013, recovered well, no stent just meds. Been keeping fit with walking and treadmill. Wife bought me a fitbit for my birthday so I've been paying more attention to pulse rate. My max is 155 so exercising around 130, however I can easily exceed this as soon as i change from fast walk to jog, I'm not out of breath, and only light sweat. So are fitbits accurate, or is this just because I need to build up fitness further.

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I’m no expert but in my experience being in armed forces, many people comfortably train above their theoretical max daily. Whether this is right or wrong for long term health I don’t know but there’s lots of it.

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Because of the way wrist based systems work, there will be some margin of error in your Fitbit, but it'll likely be close enough to be able to tell you that you are exceeding your 130bpm target.

On the target itself, since you are not taking meds to control your heart rate the best advise I have read (from a cardiologist), is listen to your body. If you are comfortable, and importantly, pain free, carry on. As your fitness builds you should find that your heart rate will (should) start to drop.

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thanks for this, I am on some meds, amlodipine, ramipril and indapamide since the heart attack, plus atorvastatin and aspirin. Like you say listen to what your body says, problem i have is my heart attack came out of the blue, a real shock, always been fit, the fact that it happened makes me slightly nervous.

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OK, so you are taking lots of meds to control blood pressure (Amlodipine, Rampril and Indapamide) so I think you should be OK, but I'm not medically qualified. I think I'd be talking to my GP and/or Cardiologist before I regularly hit those high numbers.

Steve

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thanks

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perhaps I should have pointed out that I was taking the meds for hypertension before I had my heart attack, so that's another reason why it was a bit of a shock.

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Hi, I asked at the cardiac rehab about heart rate and the physiologist said you are better going by how you feel when exercising. If you are very out of breath you are doing to much. He said one patient had a fit bit and it showed heart rate as 190, she said I will go home and do nothing all day now, she was not out of breath and he checked it for her and it was only 90. I do not have one so have no experience of it. Some medications slow your heart rate too and you have to take that into it as well.

Anyway all the best. Anke

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thanks for that, beginning to think its more about how you feel

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Hi, I go to a gym under an instructor he was very careful not to let my heart rate go above 133 to begin with but as fitness improved now is ok with seeing 150, that doesn't happen often. He is much more interested in how fast it goes down in between exercises as he believes the recovery rate is very important once a level of fitness has been achieved.

Also, I wear a fitbit too but against the chest monitor I wear when at the gym it isn't very accurate compared to that, both under measuring and over measuring (sometimes not measuring at all)

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I believe you take the rate of 220 and then minus your age and that gives you a safe indicator.

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I believe you take the rate of 220 and then minus your age and that gives you a safe indicator.

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Ahha 220-your age crept up again, I really have problem with this. My friend and I both same age, while I consider myself fit and active, he swears by living stress free life without having to worry about eating healthy or doing regular exercise. We often had long discussion on this subject and judging by my current situation he probably wins the argument outright but I leave this topic for another day and address the problem of calculating max heart rate.

I regularly exercised 150-160bpm range and often hit 180bpm (my max HR) during intense exercise sessions. I am unsure that during a cardio exercise my friend can reach his max heart rate (168bmp), let alone 180. I guess you can see why I have a problem with this generic formula, I tends to agree that best way to exercise is to listen to your body. We all have different abilities, different parameters so I feel it’s kind of unfair to put us all in one generic basket!

Coming back to OP’s question about max HR, well, I guess we need to consider our body conditions, meds we are on, specially beta blockers etc. My medical team advised me not to go above 130bpm during the exercise, considering my regular exercise zone was 150-160bmp and I was regularly hitting 180s and achieved 180bpm during my post process stress test.

I understand that its possible for me to exercise in the 145-55bpm range with much ease but then the question arises that whether exercising in the elevated zone (145-155bmp) would help my heart muscle to get stronger in the longer run or actually it would be detrimental for the heart muscle and likely to put me at risk of having a second heart attack?

In conclusion, I feel there is no such a thing as generic formula to work out your max HR, we need to listen to our body and determine what would be a safe zone for us, it’s a learning process. I must also emphasise that pre-process body condition and the prescribed meds would also play a significant part on determining individual safe exercise zones.

Hope above helps

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Great post!

Heart rate zones a real problem at times. Prior to my Angina diagnosis I would do regular Hiit sessions in the gym, these were instructor led sessions when you were actively encouraged to max out 100% or maintain 90%, I would get roped into this and would hit 90% plus which in my opinion was okay, but for others it was really tough and they would struggle. In the end I just would hit the 90% and ease off.

I am glad I did!

Now I am on Betablockers its a whole new ball game, I just work to a level where I get a decent sweat on and I can feel some tiredness in the legs. I have given up on the equations and listen to my body instead of chasing the numbers.

Cheers Cube

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Thanks Cube

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This might help, along with the link to the thread that max HR was discussed...

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

There is method to the equation but it's about applying a % to the theoretical max HR. 220 minus age is for people without heart conditions.

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