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Thread: HR and aging

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    Default HR and aging

    I did a search but didn't find anything that applies to what I'm experiencing. It may be nothing, but I have a very hard time getting my HR above 150. I'll be 54 next month, I take BP meds (Valsartan 160mg) and Meloxicam (7.5mg). My most recent cholesterol was 164 with all the right numbers and ratios. I take a low dose Lipitor (20mg). My resting HR is usually 50-52 bpm and upon waking it's often in upper 40's.

    I've been doing quite a bit of Zwift with my Wahoo KICKR and have steadily raised my FTP about 50 watts since December but even if I completely sell out on a climb to the point that my legs are about to quit, my HR might get to 155. I did a MTB race yesterday on my gravel bike and averaged 131 bpm with a max of 150. I was working hard, I chased down some guys riding the proper bikes after they gapped me on some single track and pulled them back. It just seems odd that my HR seems to have a governor around 150.

    By definition I have Bradycardia but I also consider myself an athlete so that's a factor in my HR being low. In my 20's and early 30's I had a similar low HR but I could also get into the upper 180's, low 190's on a sprint. I'd time trial 170-175 for 40K. Now I wonder what is going on if anything or if it's just a matter of getting older.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Hey Bill - I am not a doctor nor play one on TV.
    And ...I generally don't pipe-in on threads about people's medical situations because unlike stating an option about disc/non-disc, Shimano/Campy, tubeless/tubular, health questions can be life or death.
    And ...if you are concerned, you should see a heart doc that specializes in athletes and has a lot of experience with endurance athletes.

    I have been through some heart stuff over the last couple of years and picked a few bits of knowledge while under the care of a top performance heart doc.

    1. Blood pressure meds, beta blockers, and other heart meds can cap your max HR. I certainly don't know if what you are taking can but I was on some for a bit and they absolutely did. It was like a sock in carburetor.
    2. While many athletes always take pride in a low resting HR, my docs response was simply "I am not sure a group of people think having the heart beat really slowly is a good thing. It can be dangerous". This coming from a guy that works with a lot of top athletes.
    3. Heart health trumps performance gains. Every once and a while I had to say that out loud as I was getting dropped from a group that 20 years ago would have never come close to happening.
    Brian McLaughlin

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Meds can affect all of this-

    I also have a low-ish hr. I used to be able to time trial at 170 bpm- Nowadays I am going hard at about 150 bpm. I am also 154. No meds and 145 lb.

    One of the things that I have been doing of late is intervals targeted at raising the heartrate. VO2 max type efforts- like 5x5 minutes.
    Goal of the effort is to go super hard and raise the heartrate- Keep cadence up rather than grind and really work for some hard breathing.
    I got up to 157 bpm on my last session- I am hoping to get to 160 or better.
    My theory is that with all of the FTP focused training I just haven't gone to that cave in a while ;)
     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    C-a-r-d-i-o-l-o-g-i-s-t
     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    And ...if you are concerned, you should see a heart doc that specializes in athletes and has a lot of experience with endurance athletes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    C-a-r-d-i-o-l-o-g-i-s-t
    Amen. Like Brian I'm going to a top-flight performance doc, one who specializes in nutjob endurance athletes.

    Hello my fellow mid-50's endurance athletes! I too have an electrical problem, an arrhythmia. Like others, a low resting HR was a point of pride. Like Brian points out this is actually another risk factor.

    My primary care physician and cardiologist are also casual athletes, and they put me on a beta blocker. This dropped the bottom out of the engine room. Resting HR in the 30's, sometimes 5 seconds between beats. Went to the specialist and he says that's contra-indicated for my particular malady. Welcome news. Managing the motor is an ongoing challenge. Have not figured it out yet, but no longer chasing the 1000-km distance and 7500-meter vertical monthly Strava challenges has helped.

    Quote Originally Posted by boots2000 View Post
    My theory is that with all of the FTP focused training I just haven't gone to that cave in a while
    My theory is that I already spent too much time in that cave. It's nicer outside the cave.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bewheels View Post
    Heart health trumps performance gains.
    Amen, brother. There's more to riding than numbers on the heart-lunger, watt-o-meter, or Strava machine. Time to smell the flowers (or ramps or stinkhorn or whatever grows in your neck of the woods).

    TH

    PS Have all you aging hammerheads had your bone density checked lately?
    Last edited by thollandpe; 04-01-2019 at 04:05 PM.
     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    I am in the same age range and background. It was not so long ago that with effort (running or biking) my max HR could be c 190. Running would always get my HR a little higher than biking. This is normal I believe. As my max HR reduced, along with my capability, I decided to stop wearing a monitor and go with perceived rate of exertion. This has stopped me from competing with the me that existed years ago. My Dr said "let it go". regards.
     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Like Brian and Todd, after decades of high intensity riding, I joined the arrhythmia club. I, and my GP (a reformed nut job ironman who had had his own intensity induced health issues), firmly believe that all the high intensity cycling, particularly in my 50s, is the root cause of the issue. I now have it under control following a $60,000 day medical procedure, an ablation. I still love to ride but my fast days are behind me.

    Now, I rarely allow my pulse to climb higher than the high 120s. When I'm tempted by someone flying ahead, I ask myself how many championship jerseys does that guy have?

    I vividly remember my first visit to the cardiologist's office. I looked around at the patients in the waiting room and said to myself I don't think I belong here. But I did; I was just a different type of patient.

    If you are having heart issues, don't be bashful about finding yourself a cardiologist with experience in treating athletes.
     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Me, it was adriamycin that got them looking at the heart and how it behaved and all so I've been down the road of numerous odd results - low ejection fractions, then those were good but back wall slow then everything perfect. Cardiologist with emphasis on non-intrusive path himself an endurance athlete said screw it we're going in. Nothing unusual found, so my theory that at some point I get tired enough that I can't raise HR is a thing. If you're cranking same watts and HR won't go you're fit. If you can't crank watts you're tired or you're sick. Me, I was in the "you're a puzzle" category. We're all individuals. If you don't want them to tell you what it could be because you don't want them to tell you to stop take my example. Find out. It could be nothing.
     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Have you tried porn?

    Seriously, as presumably has been mentioned above, your doctor can better address this issue than the forum members.

    Unless it has to do with porn.

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    I feel at my higher end 60s of age, having a HR is just fine. Some of my old friends aren't as lucky as me don'thave a HR anymore. Like me, my heart goes as fast as it goes and as long as it keeps going, it's all good with me. I used to follow Heart rates, power, mph but I don't even own a preformance moniter of any kind. I used to have a resting heart rate in the 30 to low 40s and could ride with the pretty fast guys. Now I am just the old fut out there on a really nice steel or Ti bike with no electronics. Probably having more fun than I ever had as a much younger racer. Lately fixed gears and single speeds interest me more than geared bikes unless I go to the hills.
    Part of the aging process is getting old. Things hurt that use to not and strength, performance and speed goes down. If you are on any heart medication I am not too sure it is all that good for you to push to redline heart rate any way. Get used to it, it does not get better as the numbers go up. There are a few outliers that seem to not slow down as much as others, and certainly the aging MDs can dope you up to ride stronger, but in 100 more years will anyone really care what your heart rate was today? I am out the door to ride again right now , it is my lucky day. Again, Peace all.
     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Interesting article in the Times about the physical adaptations of an athlete's heart: The Heart of a Swimmer vs. the Heart of a Runner

    Nothing about the electrical changes, or potential risks. One thing for sure, if you have all that muscle mass and are no longer training it to be quick and agile, it's not going to be as quick and agile as it once was. Are our hearts like aging linebackers? Maybe our electrical problems are analogous to CTE?

    But they do mention the theory that swimmers' hearts adapt differently because of the horizontal position while working out. I first noticed my symptoms while lying down, and I know several riders who are keenly aware of what their heart is doing while reclined. I still can't sleep on my side, else it triggers the palpitations.

    And one thing that separates cyclists from runners or swimmers or rowers. Make that two things. We tend to work out for much longer periods of time. And we tend to go very deep into that pain cave, we practically collapse on the bike atop a long climb, or after taking a pull. You can't do that while running or swimming.

    TH

     

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    In my prime I had a max heart of around 205 bmp. Up until my late 30’’s I had a max of in the high 190’s. I went pretty hard the other day and I got a max rate of 184 but I had to make my eye bleed. On the flip side I has a high resting heart rate which is about 60 bmp and can get up to 70bmp if I’m dehydrated or sick or sleepless. It has been in the low 50’s before but that’s when I am in super shape and all conditions are firing well. Interestingly my Father is very similar to me. He is actually on mild blood thinners because it natural hemocrit is in the low 50’s.
    Last edited by joosttx; 04-05-2019 at 02:27 PM.

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    Interesting article in the Times about the physical adaptations of an athlete's heart: The Heart of a Swimmer vs. the Heart of a Runner

    Nothing about the electrical changes, or potential risks. One thing for sure, if you have all that muscle mass and are no longer training it to be quick and agile, it's not going to be as quick and agile as it once was. Are our hearts like aging linebackers? Maybe our electrical problems are analogous to CTE?

    But they do mention the theory that swimmers' hearts adapt differently because of the horizontal position while working out. I first noticed my symptoms while lying down, and I know several riders who are keenly aware of what their heart is doing while reclined. I still can't sleep on my side, else it triggers the palpitations.

    And one thing that separates cyclists from runners or swimmers or rowers. Make that two things. We tend to work out for much longer periods of time. And we tend to go very deep into that pain cave, we practically collapse on the bike atop a long climb, or after taking a pull. You can't do that while running or swimming.

    TH

    Thanks for the posting. Man, all this talk is making me more than ever want to ride for fun and limit time in the pain cave.

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    I wouldn't pretend to give advice on this thread not being a md or playing one on tv...but aside from all of the discussion above there is something that I found useful and has not changed with age.

    So, now let me be my mother with her finger pointing at you.

    While HR is different as I age, if I find my HR is higher than normal for similar effort then it means I am sick or over trained/ over tired.

    So I guess I am saying don't pay so much attention to the absolute numbers as much as the relative numbers because the change for same effort (compared to recent past not years ago when you were still fresh faced and innocent) can mean something as simple as you are getting a cold to something more serious.
    Jon Mandel

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    Default Re: HR and aging

    Just as an update, since I've been mountain biking, I've upped my average HR and been >170 several times. Not so much on the road bike, still low, but my off road adventures have upped my HR game. I think it's the interval nature of mountain biking, the closer the intervals are together, the less recovery and I see a cumulative effect.
    Weight Doper

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