Working out my Maximum Heart Rate aft... - British Heart Fou...

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Working out my Maximum Heart Rate after a heart attack

Hi everyone. Just joined this community and this is my first post...

I had a heart attack 11 years ago as a result of high cholesterol inherited from my Mother, which I was unaware of at the time. At the time I did not have any stents put in as my main left artery was damaged top to bottom. The doctors said at the time putting stents in would not work as there was too much damage, so they wanted to control it with drugs, although they said I may need a bypass in later life. The doctor said I had the heart of a 70 year old man when I had my heart attack, and it was only the fact that I was fit and living a healthy lifestyle what saved me. I had always been into fitness and at the time was running and playing football regularly.

I am 47 now and still keep fit. I go to the gym 5 times a week and want to start wearing a heart rate monitor to track my heart rate when I'm working out in the gym.

The standard way of working out a person's maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Does anyone know if there is anything extra to account for when working out the maximum heart rate, if they've had a heart attack?

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You should discuss it with your doctor.

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I share your interest on this subject, I’m 47 and as a rule of thumb I do not exceed a bpm of 155/160. However, once I get above 140 I do start to worry a little because let’s be honest it is in the danger zone for hearties. Cardiac rehab say not to exceed 117/120, but I feel no benefit psychologically or physically from exercising to this level.

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Gunsmoke, I heard the same thing at cardio rehab, however when I asked some questions the answer I got was that about 120 (it'll vary slightly by person) is the upper limit for MODERATE aerobic, which is all they cover on the cardio rehab course. In other words, they weren't saying above 120 is dangerous, just that above 120 takes you into a different style of exercise that they weren't covering.

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Ah nice one. Cheers Chappychap. I must admit when I was on Bisoporol I couldn’t get to 120bpm if I did two marathons bk to bk, but since switching to a calcium channel blocker oh my goodness what a difference I have a normal pulse and more importantly it returns to a resting rate sequentially rather than over the course of a week 😁

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Very funny!

You're right about Bisoprolol, I'm still on it but at a fairly low dose.

It's taken over a month of HIIT training to get the heart rate needle over to the right of the gauge, but bit by bit I'm getting there. And it's exactly like you say, I can take my heart rate four or five hours after a gym session and it's still below the norm.

Here's an interesting article on HIIT for heart patients,

verywellfit.com/will-high-i...

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I read that - I get their daily email and find the site extremely helpful. Glad to see you posting links to their articles, makes me feel I'm doing something right:)

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I've heard two different formulae, the first as you said is 220 - age (this is for men, I think there's a different version for women), and the second is 205.8 - (0.685 x age). In either case the objective is to target 80-90% of the maximum rather than the maximum itself.

I've been doing the NHS recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week since a bypass operation last year. I wanted to layer on top some High Intensity Interval Training and also some resistance/weight work. I discussed this with my GP and also emailed the surgeon who performed my heart op. Both gave it the green light.

However, you should check with your GP.

One further thing, I was told during cardio rehab that if exercising with weights, or indeed just lifting something heavy, it's important not to hold your breath. The red faced strain isn't a good look at the best of times, but for people with heart issues it's an especially bad idea!

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Love your last paragraph, Chappycahap :)

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Same advice from my rehab, They strongly reinforced warm up and cool down to prevent blood from pooling, it's really important to keep moving while your heart rate returns to normal.

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Thanks everyone for all the replies. Very interesting article on HIIT Chappychap, had a quick look, but will read it properly this evening.

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I hit 165 just walking around the house!

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Thank goodness it's not just me!! I've been reading all the above replies saying they struggle to get up to 120 as they're on the lowest dose of Bisoprolol. I'm on 5mg a day, so resting my HR is around 40-50, but as soon as I stand up, it's up to 90 odd, and I walk upstairs and it's up to 140 :)

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It is possible to get a good work-out at a moderate heart rate, say no more than 120bpm. If it were me I would weigh carefully what I were trying to achieve. working at a high bpm gives the impression of fitness but if it causes a heart attack then it might be a misguided aim? Talk to a good medico before pushing too much.

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I rarely get above 100bpm which is apparently due to bisoprolol as beta blockers affect heart rate. Very annoying!

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Hi SpinCycle. Are you on a beta blocker or similar, as that will affect your max heart rate? The cardio rehab sessions that I went to stressed that using heart rate targets for exercise wasn’t a good idea and recommended the Borg scale of rate of perceived physical exertion (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rating_of_perceived_exertion). They also mentioned the Karvonen method (there are plenty of calculators on line). They also said that this was unreliable for beta blocker patients and to add 20 to resting heart rate as that was roughly the difference made by taking the BBs).

I do monitor my heart rate while exercising and the rate I can get to varies on the time of day - so I moderate this with how I feel and don’t push it beyond 14/15 on the Borg scale.

As others have said - do talk your Doc/cardiologist/cardio rehab team before pushing it.

Take care and good luck.

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Hi. I got that wrong re adding 20 to resting heart rate. I meant taking it off max heart rate.

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I think it must also depend on your resting heart rate as well. They say that a normal resting heart rate is between 55 and 75. So the maximum heart rate calculation of 220 minus age is fine for an average person. But my resting heart rate us 44 so I don't see how this calculation applies to me surely that could be too high.

Having said all that in the last 7 years since my HA I have just gone out and pushed myself as far as I can go and only looked at my heart monitor results afterwards. My body will tell me if it's too much. I exercise for fun and fitness not to get anxious about over exerting myself. Get a monitor and exercise as normal look at the results after your normal exercises. The highest peak will be your maximum. Then see if you can push it higher if you want. But have fun doing it.

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Most Fitbit type devices don’t set maximum HR, but specify ‘cardio’ and ‘peak’ zones. I followed instructions on the website to adjust mine based on how hard I felt I was working on the ten point scale. I reach cardio around 103 bpm and peak around 115 (should be about 120 and 140 at 57).

This seems about right as the standard 45 min rehab session has me mostly in cardio, with a couple of mins in peak.

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Not sure if my Fitbit is wrong but I suffer with breathlessness under exertion and it always says that my heart rate has dropped. Could this be normal or a faulty Fitbit?

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I think this calculation is far too high for me. I used to do HIIT three to four times a week up to a year before my heart attack. I couldn’t understand why I was slowing down. Then heart attack out of the blue. Now my cardiac team say maximum rate 80/103. I am 68. I must admit I’m pretty puffed out after my swim this morning.

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Thanks again to everyone for their replies, support and advice. Really helpful. I'm only on a low dose of Bispoprolol. My heart rate averages around 120 in a spinning class, with a max of 153, but that is really pushing myself. I'm going to speak to my doctor this week so will let everyone know what their advice for me is. Below is a list of the medication that I take:

MORNING:

1.25mg Bisoprolol

5mg Ramipril

75mg Aspirin Dispersible

NIGHT:

40mg Atorvastatin

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I must admit once a hit 155 bpm, I’m breathing out me arse 😂

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Lol, I know the feeling! My max of 153 lasts about 1 second, then I have to rest :D

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