Posted by: Tienkie | 2004/11/11

Heart rate higher than Max dangerous?

I've been gymming now for more than a year. Am a female age 43, weight 68 kg, length 165 cm. I'm proud to know I getting fitter by the day, combining strength training and cardio four times a week, one hour a day. Recently bought polar watch to check heart rate and fitness. The fitness test indicates fitness level of 35 (good). When running on treadmill my heart rate is averagely 170 to 175 and max 185 for the 15 or 20 minutes duration. Is this bad for my heart? My OwnIndex indicates max 168 which I know is correct. I'm not feeling overtired and have high energy levels and feel tremendously healthy. After running I quickly get my breath. With the polar watch early morning just after rising my heart rate showed about 77 bpm and when I'm averagely walking around/active it'll go up to around 100 to 120. Does this all sound normal/healthy and is it OK for my heart rate to sometimes max to 180/175?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Tienkie

There's a lot of confusion about this, and unfortunately a lot of the public knowledge on heart rate during exercise is not quite accurate. The problem is that they came up with all these standards and recommendations for the general public, but this fails to acknowledge that different people may have different heart rates during exercise. From experience in a research context, I can assure you that you can test two people, trained equally, doing the same exercise, with about a 30 bpm difference between them. So it appears that heart rate is not really related to fitness when you compare it BETWEEN people. As for health, that's a point of conention. Of course, I could not possibly tell you that you are healthy or not, based purely on your heart rate and so the only way to know for sure is to have all the appropriate tests done - ECG etc. and so if you are really concerned, I would have this done. However, what you have said in your question is not at all unusual.

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: Tienkie | 2004/11/16

Thanks for response. I have recently had ECG done because I was worried after getting heart palpitations once in a while and the specialist pronounced my heart fit, healthy and in very good condition and told me to ignore it - it could be stress related. This has anyway nearly disappeared.

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