heart rate and oxygen: Just done week 4 for the... - Couch to 5K

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heart rate and oxygen

twolungs
twolungs
12 Replies

Just done week 4 for the first time running five minutes. I have a lung condition and have been monitoring my oxygen and heart rate. Would be interested to know how this compares to other people's?

My highest heart rate was 166 and my oxygen at its lowest was 93% at a jogging pace. I'm 36, 9st4, female.

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Realfoodieclub

I think we are all different. I know my heart rate runs a little higher than most, so between me and my gp we have decided on a level that's good for me. I have never tested my oxygen while running, what do you use to monitor that? Has your GP given you any indication what you should be aspiring too?

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twolungs

I use a pulse oximeter, I clip it on my finger mid-running and it uses some kind of infrared sensor to measure oxygen saturation levels in the blood. Normal range is 98-100% at rest, it's normal for people to drop 2-3% below that while exercising. Think I'll check with my GP what the safe limits are.

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melly4012
melly4012Graduate

My tomtom watch tells me that my heart rate averages between 160-170 bpm. My heart rate seems to peak around 190. Not sure if the heart rate on the watch is accurate and no idea about oxygen though.

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twolungs
twolungs
in reply to melly4012

Can I ask how fast would you be running at 160-170 bpm?

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melly4012
melly4012Graduate
in reply to twolungs

Not fast at all! Average speed is around 7km/h and average pace is between 7 and 8 minutes per km. Super slow, although I am 5'4 which isn't ridiculously short but probably quite a short stride compared to taller people. :)

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twolungs
twolungs
in reply to melly4012

Ah ok, in a nice way that's quite reassuring!

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abitfit

Hi twolungs

Levels below 90 for a sustained period deprive your organs of oxygen so always try to maintain over 90. For heart rate as realfoodie says, we are all different and the standard measurements are all different too. Using 3 different standard measurements my maximum heart rate is said to be 150, 159 and 166! I have a lung condition too and if I'm struggling to breath then I know I need to slow down however getting my lungs working beyond what they would normally do is really beneficial for me. Another measure I do use a lot is my recovery time, how long does it take oxygen saturation levels to normalise and how quickly does my heartrate drop to nearer normal.

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twolungs
twolungs
in reply to abitfit

Thanks abitfit, that's really helpful. I'm getting to know when I'm overdoing it as my heart really pounds. Really agree that keeping exercising is a good thing. That's a good tip about keeping an eye on recovery time. Great to hear that you are continuing to exercise with your lung condition!

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MrNiceGuy

Hello twolungs,

Regardless of whether you’re a novice or an experienced exerciser, running is one of the most strenuous activities of them all.

As such, when you’re starting off, until running fitness is developed, exercising heart-rate may be higher in comparison to cycling or swimming, for example.

However, as working muscles (including the heart) improve their ability to process oxygen during exercise, on the assumption that the pace remains the same, exercising heart-rate will eventually decrease.

A HR of 166 means that today’s level of effort will have pushed exercising heart rate beyond its aerobic threshold into its anaerobic zone, where oxygen could not be delivered to working muscles as quickly as they required it (research aerobic and anaerobic pathways), hence why your oxygen saturation levels may have decreased.

Put another way, your running speed (although it was only jogging) meant that you were performing high intensity exercise, which will explain the oxygen deficit (research EPOC), since that’s what HIIT does.

It will have also increased the uptake of glucose and fat as energy in absence of oxygen, resulting in increased calorie expenditure, something that’ll have continued after your run, as the body worked to repay its oxygen debt (again, research EPOC).

Given your current age, MHR is around 184BPM. The fact that your exercising HR hit 166BPM means that at the points it did, you were exercising at 90% of MHR, thus, placing exercising HR in its anaerobic zone.

As such, I hope the above goes some way towards answering some the questions to which you’ve sought answers, not least the reduction in oxygen saturation levels, which have hopefully begun to return to somewhere near normal (as the body has worked to repay its oxygen debt).

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twolungs
twolungs
in reply to MrNiceGuy

Hi there, that's helps put it in perspective. I didn't know about the two thresholds. Also that's helpful to know my max heart rate. And on the bright side maybe I'll burn more fat ha! Before I was diagnosed with lung disease, I had no idea anything was wrong apart from feeling maybe I wasn't as fit as I used to be. I would love to reach 5k in a reasonable time. From what you've said it'll hopefully get easier.

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MrNiceGuy

I’m glad to hear that you consider my explanation has gone some way towards explaining the reason behind your reduced oxygen saturation levels.

Upon placing exercising heart rate in its anaerobic zone, you certainly will expend calories both during and after exercise.

However, since you’ve embarked upon the C25K, your current aim is to simply improve running fitness at pace that feels largely comfortable, allowing you to acquire a solid base from which to build (stamina/endurance), something that exercising within the aerobic zone encourages; once you’ve graduated, you can work upon increasing running speed.

Don’t worry, though, so long as you’re reducing daily calorie intake, weight will still be lost through exercising within your aerobic zone, since it too increases the uptake of glucose and fat during exercise, whilst also serving to improve levels of insulin sensitivity afterwards (just not as extensively as HIIT).

Additionally, by reducing running speed and length of your stride pattern (allowing the feet to mid-foot land in line with the torso), you’ll retain far greater control over the pace. Equally, by seeking to strengthen the muscles of the legs and core (through resistance training), their improved endurance will enhance your overall running experience as you repeatedly place one foot in front of the other.

Provided consistency is maintained, running will become easier as the activity encourages progressive overload of the cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular-skeletal systems, forcing adaptation and development, while also allowing body composition and fitness levels to improve in the process.

Regardless of your lung condition, when it comes to running, you’re in competition with nobody else but yourself.

Take your time en-route towards accomplishing your first 5K, continuing to enjoy the satisfaction that the runner’s high provides (seldom does it disappear), whilst remembering that whatever time you post is a PB, setting a target to be improved upon.

That said, when it comes to running, PB’s aren’t the be all and end all, since the activity can enrich quality of life in so many other ways.

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twolungs

I just thought I'd post an update for the benefit of others. I've since had readings as low as 85% when pushing myself (jogging for longer, jogging slightly faster) at which point my heart is pounding, I have slowed and recovered immediately to 98%. I spoke to my doctor and she said from the mid 80's downwards pulse oximeters are notoriously inaccurate, high heart rate/cold fingers make it difficult to get an accurate O2 reading. She said how you are feeling is a much better indication so to slow down when I feel I am struggling. Also the fact I am recovering quickly is a good indication that it is nothing serious. She said to not worry about using the pulse oximeter while exercising. One less thing to worry about then! One last run of Week Four then it's on to Week Five!

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