Posted by: elmarie | 2007/05/17


i've joined the gym a week ago and my goals are to loose wieght and get fit. I'm 42 and about 20 kg overweight. My fitness trainer worked out a program that I must do 2 x week cardio and the other 3 days floor excersizes. I'v got high blood pressure. My questions are: If I measure my heart rate after I've done my exercizes it goes up. It was 111, then 113 and today 136. It worries my because she said a normal persons is +-74.
My blood pressure is also 140/70 and today 144/52. Should'nt it come down (both above) or should I measure myself befor I exercize?. She also said my heart rate must be between 177 - 183
I exercize as hard as can be but only manage to get to 163 +-
I don't want to exercize my heart out and think that I'm losing weight and not do so.
Any advise please. I'm very unfit and have leg compartment syndrome.

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Our expert says:
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HI Elmarie

Don't worry about the heart rate - the value at the end of exercise doesn't HAVE to be anything. It's just an indication of what you have just finished doing. For example, if you walk up a flight of stairs your heart rate might increase to 100 bpm. There's nothing wrong with that, I would not worry about it at all, just be sure that you are taking precautions with regards to your blood pressure.

As for the blood pressure, it will come down, but give it time. You need to train for a period before it drops, and only a week has gone by. I would measure it after exercise, certainly, if you can, but don't over-interpret it. If it is slightly high, then just keep tabs on it, but just remember that a lot of factors affect this value too. Your current value is fine - the systolic can go up, and the diastolic does go down, so nothing is wrong.

Finally, measuring heart rate during exercise is likely to be a waste of energy and time at this stage of your gym life. I would forget about it - as long as you are finishing these cardio sessions (hopefully at least 30 minutes) and classes feeling tired, but not exhausted, then you are doing fine. The heart rate is just a number, it's not the boss and it's not there to tell you what to change. That's something that you can do simply by listening to your body and taking it easy if you feel tired, but pushing harder if you don't.

Good luck

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