Rapid heartbeat when running (209bpm) - British Heart Fou...

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Rapid heartbeat when running (209bpm)

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I am 19 years old this year and started running. My heartbeat rises extremely quickly and will reach 209bpm in just under 10 minutes. Is this a huge concern and should I continue running?

I will experience shortness of breath when running but I think this is normal for new runners. My resting heart rate is normal at around 65-85.

6 Replies

I had the same thing, which is how I found out I had atrial fibrillation. I'd been running for years, but bought running watch a heart rate monitor as I wanted to step up my training. I thought it was broken when it kept saying 220. I also had shortness of breath when I sprinted. As HappyJo says, get along to a doctor ASAP - if it is afib, the sooner you are diagnosed the more options you have for treatment.

(BTW - twenty years later, I'm still running, just slower....)

Good luck !

Don't panic - at 19 that's not necessarily a problem. Your "age related max" would be 201 and many people go well over that. In my late 30s I used to maintain around 180 for half an hour at a time in the gym. That would have placed my max somewhere around 200 against a predicted 183.

But you should certainly speak to your GP to discuss if it's normal variation or a sign of something needing attention. Where your heart's concerned it's always better to find out earlier rather than later!

You say the rise is "rapid". Do you mean it jumps suddenly (eg: gets to, say 120bpm then a few seconds later is up around 200) or is it a fast but steady rise over that 10 minutes?

Don't worry too much. You are 19. When I was 30 something, my firm made is have medicals which included running on a treadmill. The doctor was happy for my pulse to get to 200.However, that was after an ECG.

I would go to your GP and ask for his advice. GPs are pretty keen to make sure that their patients hearts are OK. I would imagine that the GP would do an ECG, and preferably an ECG under stress (i.e. on a treadmill).

I would imagine that you ought to take it easy and not over exert yourself. Keep the heart rate within the recommended range

This is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 to give your maximum heart rate and multiplying the result by .75

So in your case that's around 150 continuously. Ain for that initially then increase it somewhat as you get fitter. A few years ago I did the London marathon, and believe me it took 6 months to get fit enough to do it.

The other aspect to this is how quickly your heart rate recovers to a more average level. When I was an active runner this was generally reckoned to be an indicator of overall fitness.

What type of running are you doing , interval training or distance ? I would discuss with Dr or research exercise physiology . Max HR is usually 220 -age.

If you are concerned - and you obviously are or wouldn't be posting here - then see your GP for advice.

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