Stupidly low heart rate? Or am I just born very fit?

I can't help thinking there is something not quite right about this and wondered if anyone else has the same experience. I'm only in my early 30s so hadn't really thought physical heart decline would be an issue for me, but....

 

When I first started running a few years ago, my heart rate would hover at around 150bpm when running and go as high as 180bpm if I was sprinting or attemtping interval training. It would sit at around 60bpm when sitting and I would be running/spinning/doing gym cardio stuff for around 10-15 hours every week without fail.

Then I lost a little weight. About a stone, (maybe more?) I'm now at the base of a healthy BMI: still healthy! But find that I just don't have the same amount of energy, can't fit in as much exercise, around a third of what I used to do and I've also noticed my heart rate rapidly decline. It now seems rarely to go higher then 150, regularly hovers around 110-120 when running the same speed- if I can manage it, and when sitting, drops to around 45bpm.

 

I have tried to increase the intensity, I just can't get my energy levels up -unless hyper-inflated with caffiene which I try not to do, I can run and manage to exercise at least 5 days a week but I feel like I'm worn out before I start! When I've looked this up all I seem to find is that I'm somehow much healthier, my heart being stronger apparently....sorry but I really don't buy that! I'm not sure if I should be worried but I am annoyed as I'd like to do more but can't.

 I know it's not a medical concern so can't really see myself getting anywhere by wasting my Doctors time, is there anything I can do to better things? And does anyone else have the same issue?

 

Comments

  • 15 hours of intense exercise a week sounds a lot.

    Have you over exerted yourself too much and just need a rest ?



    A few weeks off would probably do it ?
  • Sounds fine to me. Try some hill sprints or a 5k to assess your MHR. My RHR is 48bpm at best although I`m a fair bit older than you.  Energy-wise, look at diet?

  • what the gweight lose deliberate or not........

    and the base of a healthy BMI........what BMI is that....

    if you have lost weight too quickly or lost it without trying then that is probably why you don't have the energy to exercise hard.......

    are you taking medications as some of these can affect it....

    are you running more or less than you were and are you working harder in the gym sessions......

    I think there are too many unknowns  for anyone to really answer the question

  • This may sound blindingly obvious but... How are you measuring your HRM? If you're using a strap mated to a Garmin or something similar, you will get a slower HR reading as the battery in the strap deteriorates. Try putting a new battery in.

    Aside from that, I'd take it easy. There are certain tonics available from health food shops that get me through low energy patches, plus an easing off of the training. You may have a low lying viral infection. And if you're worried about it, go see your GP - that's what they're there for! And if they make you feel like you're wasting their time, go see another one. If it persists there's a lot they can find out about what is (or isn't) present in your blood.

    Personally, I've felt like Ive been harbouring some kind of virus for weeks and it's made me sluggish and lethargic and I know I need to be out training for my next race, but... 

  • Blimey - I feel worn out just reading how much you do! +1 for a bit of time out - your body may be trying to tell you something - I'M KNACKERED!!!

    Seriously though, some time off, good diet with enough food and plenty of relaxation. Or you could do a few weeks of less intensive exercise - pilates, yoga or walking?

  • As others have said, take a week or two off and see if you improve.  If you still fell like you're lacking energy after this, go and see your GP.  Its possible that there may be a medical cause behind it (e.g. low iron levels) but the most likely is over-training. 

  • I think there are two separate things going on here. As you get older and also as you get fitter, your heart rate while exercising does not go as high as it used to. This is partly down to getting older and partly down to getting fitter. And both are normal.

    The being tired all the time could just be down to simple overtraining and needing a decent length of rest to recover. Though usually if you're overtraining your resting heart rate would be slightly elevated. But perhaps your actual RHR is something like 40 now and 45 IS elevated.

    I'd say go see your doctor and ask for basic blood tests, rest for at least a week and keep a record of your RHR, taken every morning before you get out of bed. It's a good idea to check RHR even when you feel fine as slight fluctuations can alert you to overtraining and/or slight illnesses even when you feel fine...

  • Jennn. 

    You're running on empty.

     

  • Jennn - I've just had a look back at your other questions - so many injuries ? Your body is trying to tell you something.....
  • jennn wrote (see)

    There are a few things you could consider:

      First of all, your age. The older you are, the slower your body tends to repair and recover. Once you hit 30/35 muscles start to naturally decline but at a fairly slow pace, once your over 50 things then start to speed up a bit and your more likely to notice differences. You didn't mention your age but it could be something to consider if you are closer to 50 then 20.   Nutrition plays a part, your body would require sound nutrition to recover at an optimal speed, muscles require protein for example and you may want to add more protein spread out over your day (don't gobble it all at once, it has a better effect if you spread it out) bones require calcium AND vitamin D. Vitamin D comes from some oily foods such as nuts, mackeral and also from sunlight: something we don't get enough of in the winter months. Most tend to get their fill of sun-driven vitamin D in the summer and then end up in a deficit by the time we get to the following summer. You can take vitamin D via pill form but make sure its Vitamin D3 as that is the type which your body requires in order for your body to absorb the calcium in your food, you may need to swallow enough and then a little bit more to make up the extra required to build up any fractures.   Rest: sleep enough, take enough rest days. When you rest, this is when your body does the repair work. If it doesn't get enough time to rest, it doesn't repair fully and any repair work it can do is very easily broken down again.   Circulation: this you need to feed the nutrients to the damaged areas and also carry away any damage and waste created by your body trying to repair itself. Massage, foam rollers and non/low impact exercise such as cycling, yoga and swimming can help boost your circulation, laying flat in a bed wont help your circulation (running would be high impact so would risk unpicking all the reapir your body may have done).   And finally water (or fluids) also are essential, drink enough every day and make sure enough of it is unadultarated water. Anything else you add to water that shouldn't be there tends to have toxins in, weather its tannins from tea/coffee or sugar/fake sugar from fizzy drinks, fresh juice and squashes. if you give your body too much work to do it may well opt to put your fracture to the end of the list: your bodies liver tends to work on processing one toxin at a time (for the same reason your better off not drinking way too much alcohol to ease your pain, physical or otherwise!)   Other then that, reduce your stress levels by socialising with friends, good mood hormones also help boost immunity and repair!

    Considering that you wrote this today (21 minutes later) I'm wondering why you've bothered starting this thread.

  • Ric- thanks for my postimage Sadly though, it doesn't make any sense to me: I rest enough, I spend my day sitting down and then go off to a gym, do an hour then spend an hour sitting down all the way home (by then having bypassed the rush hour in order to get a seat and take less time getting home!). I eat very well, I have not lost a lot of weight in a short space of time (it happened over 1.5 years) and I am very anal about getting in the required nutrition.

     

    Weight wise/BMI wise my weight is bang on normal apparently. My BMI is 20 which is average when the healthy range is 18.5-25. I drink plenty of fresh water every day, steer clear of caffiene aside from once a week when I'll just cave to the energy low (it does help with staying awake) I don't do massages though...kinda don't have the money for that one (wish I did!) but I do take very slow yoga classes to help with balance and core stability (none of this gimmicky Ashtanga/Bikrum stuff!)

     

    I don't do 15 hours any more- I *used* to when I first started running a few years ago (sorry if that wasn't clear) it's now dropped to around 5-6 hours a week, one hour a day. I don't think that's a large amont- I see so many others do so much more- I don't just run, I spread things out so I get a balance of things- I didn't think I was doing too much- am I?

     

     

  • cougie wrote (see)
    Jennn - I've just had a look back at your other questions - so many injuries ? Your body is trying to tell you something.....

    I have worked out why that happens- I am hypermobile- this was only just recently picked up, I always thought I was just very clumsy and *blonde* but actually I just have poor spatual awareness and can easy mis-take a step without realising until I've landed myself a sprained ankle, the knee thing was partly due to hypermobile joints and the stress fracture was due to me over-doing things but what made it worse was the physio saying I was fine when no tests had been done, telling me to 'man up' when infact it was a fracture, it got worse because I tried to ignore the pain, thinking the physio was right and it took 2 years for the hospital to refer me to get tests done as I took a while to return, obviously it had gotten a tad worse inbetween.

     I also have a family history of osteoperosis and myself have weakened bones despite my nutrition which means I have weakened bones and they damage more easily. Right now though my bones are fine, not an issue in terms of energy anyhow.

     

    I rest well, eat well, maintain a healthy weight, if my body is trying to tell me to sit on my derrier infront of the TV I think I need to have words with it!

    RicF wrote (see)

    Jennn. 

    You're running on empty.  

    Can't be: my nutrition is fine, I even had blood tests a month ago, they show my nutrition is all fine.

    stutyr wrote (see)

    As others have said, take a week or two off and see if you improve.  If you still fell like you're lacking energy after this, go and see your GP.  Its possible that there may be a medical cause behind it (e.g. low iron levels) but the most likely is over-training. 

    Had blood tests and they are fine- it's not a nutritional issue. I am confused as to how exercise for 1 hour 5-6 days a week is over-training after having managed a lot more just a few years ago.

    The Egyptian Toe wrote (see)

    Sounds fine to me. Try some hill sprints or a 5k to assess your MHR. My RHR is 48bpm at best although I`m a fair bit older than you.  Energy-wise, look at diet?

    Thanks- thing is, I bet you "earnt" your heart rate being that low! I'm not that fit anymore, can't manage as much as I used to and I often have to stop halfway to get air because I cannot manage- I don't think I earnt my low heart rate by training unfortunetly.

    cougie wrote (see)
    15 hours of intense exercise a week sounds a lot.
    Have you over exerted yourself too much and just need a rest ?

    A few weeks off would probably do it ?


    Thanks for the tip- a few weeks off is the only thing I've not tried, mainly because on any rest days I do take, I just seem to come back feeling even wo

  • runs-with-dogs wrote (see)

    I think there are two separate things going on here. As you get older and also as you get fitter, your heart rate while exercising does not go as high as it used to. This is partly down to getting older and partly down to getting fitter. And both are normal.

    The being tired all the time could just be down to simple overtraining and needing a decent length of rest to recover. Though usually if you're overtraining your resting heart rate would be slightly elevated. But perhaps your actual RHR is something like 40 now and 45 IS elevated. I'd say go see your doctor and ask for basic blood tests, rest for at least a week and keep a record of your RHR, taken every morning before you get out of bed. It's a good idea to check RHR even when you feel fine as slight fluctuations can alert you to overtraining and/or slight illnesses even when you feel fine...

    Thanks for the advice, I'll give it another few weeks and then go back to my GP. They ran blood tests a month ago and it was all fine, I think if I go back they'll just say "we did tests a few weeks ago" and I'll look like an idiot! I wasn't sure what you meant by 'slight fluctuations' as it all does seem pretty stable, just very low, even when exercising.

    Snap! wrote (see)

    This may sound blindingly obvious but... How are you measuring your HRM? If you're using a strap mated to a Garmin or something similar, you will get a slower HR reading as the battery in the strap deteriorates. Try putting a new battery in.

    Aside from that, I'd take it easy. There are certain tonics available from health food shops that get me through low energy patches, plus an easing off of the training. You may have a low lying viral infection. And if you're worried about it, go see your GP - that's what they're there for! And if they make you feel like you're wasting their time, go see another one. If it persists there's a lot they can find out about what is (or isn't) present in your blood. Personally, I've felt like Ive been harbouring some kind of virus for weeks and it's made me sluggish and lethargic and I know I need to be out training for my next race, but... 

    I have a Polar HRM. I actually bought it after my last one kept giving me low results about a year ago, I tried changing the batteries on the strap and the watch but it made no difference so I changed for a new one but the same thing kept happening. Since then it has slowed even further and I have tried a new battery. Can't help thining the battery isn't to blame.

     

    It's not been weeks, this has been progressively getting slower over the last year or so. If it is a virus its one hell of a long standing one- and doesn't seem to affect my white blood cell count- this normally rises when you have a virus but my blood test last month was all fine, the white cell count was actually quite low, the GP didn't seem at all suprized and said it was nothing to worry about and only worry if it was too high and that it was only slightly low, nothing out of the ordinary safe range, but thanks for the tip, I'll keep a log of things to see if I can pick up any pattens.

    Peter Everitt wrote (see)

    Blimey - I feel worn out just reading how much you do! +1 for a bi

  • Hi - I'm 40, not particularly fit right now (few niggling injuries) and my RHR is about 45 and max is 164 which was only achieved under extreme duress on a treadmill cardio test. It's always been like that - even before I started running regularly.



    When I go running with friends of my age, we will run up a hill and they will be at 190 and I will be at 140-145. They just laugh at me. After they've got their breath back whilst I wait for them!



    My RHR and peak have been about the same for getting on for 10 years now - and might have been before that but I never measured them. I worried for a bit but I've come to the conclusion that it is what it is. There are averages for these things and the will be variation. I'm clearly towards one end of a range. So what? Somebody has to be.



    You say you can't get your energy levels up but I don't quite understand what you mean?



    Feeling a bit tired and rundown? It's that time of year and the weather has been crappy for 3 months now and there seem to be a lot of nagging viruses around this year. I'm not firing on all cylinders currently but I have no doubt that once the us comes out and it warms up I will be fine again. Maybe it is nothing physical - maybe you have worries about work or family that can wear you out over time and take away your joie de vivre. (Amusingly when I first wrote that it was autocorrected to "joke of vice")



    Or are you a lot slower than you were when you actually run? If that's the case then there might be something else going on that would benefit from a GP visit.



    I know you are young but maybe there is something hormonal going on. Things like early menopause are not uncommon and can have all sorts of unexpected effects....
  • FWIW, my MHR dropped too, I could easily hit 170+ now can't cross 160 even with longer effort. RHR usually 55 but much lower 45+ early morning.



    I don't push too hard to try beat the record so can't really say what it can go to.... scared of heart failure, I am 47..
  • there are lots of causes of bradycardia.

    if you're still concerned and your bloods showed nothing, ask your GP to refer you to a cardiologist who'll hook you up to an ECG and check your rhythms for anything abnormal.

  • You say your bloods were normal; what about iron levels? Training is quite hard on your blood cells. A course of iron tablets usually sorts out a bit of lethargy for me

  • I've run with a Polar HRM since 2000 and I've never experienced a weak or flat battery impacting the HR data. Either it works or it doesn't - you should get a warning message if any of the batteries are going.

  • I've used hrms for 20 years now and I've never heard of a fading battery giving a low heart rate.



    Jennn it is possible that you just need a rest.

    When was the last time you took a few days rest ?
  • When I replaced the battery on my Garmin chest strap I didn't replace the cover properly, moisture got in, and it was giving inaccurate readings. Was giving an average of 215 and a max of 245 on a run where the figures are usually more like 145 and 165. Drying it out solved the problem. But yes, they can give duff readings while still apparently functioning okay. Never heard of a low battery giving low readings though...
  • Thanks RWD. I think the point is that a low battery or badly connected battery can give duff readings. No great surprise there. High or low? Nobody knows.
  • Well, just to get back to all the replies- and thanks everyone for the replies- I hadn't expected anyone to comment let alone suggest helpful things so thank you image

     

    I have actually got eight heart rate monitor straps and three separate batteries- all have had the batteries changed since buying them, I have only one watch but that has had it's battery changed at least twice and I only got it 3 years ago (or nearly 3) as it's the second one I have had. The results are really not changing per strap or battery. They are far far worse first thing in the morning but nothing else differs per day. I don't think the batteries are the issue, sadly. I have the Polar FT60 and the battery for either the watch or the strap clicks on pretty firmly, its something even I can't screw up!

     

    I have had a few days off around Christmas, but my days off are still spent being fairly active mainly because I don't have a choice. I live in a tiny noisy flat, my neighbours are veering on neighbours from hell and so I'd go out if I had days free, but to get anywhere I've got a 15 minute power-walk (longer if I don't) to the train station, 20 minute walk to the bus. I don't drive, my bike was stolen, the reverse journey awaits me if I come home but all uphill. Generally on days free I clean up my home, it's the only chance I get to! This is how I spend my "rest day". 

     

    I had assumed my blood test included iron, I know they included thyroid and white blood cell count and everything was normal. It was done because the Doctor in question thought all my issues were about a vitamin D issue, turns out my vitamin D was all fine but I got given a shot anyway- made no difference. I'd like to blame it on a virus but my white blood cell count was on the low side of normal which apparently means I am fit and healthy, no viruses in my system. This isn't a new thing but it does seem to be getting progressively worse. I seem to have been in a steady energy decline for at least a year, not really sure as to why but do know the result is not being able to do what I used to do and I feel so sad about that. I can't seem to change it either image

  • Yeah, kinda stuck with the insomnia...(its been YEARS!) I do have the luxary of being able to lie in a little longer then most to compensate and the weekends I don't need to get up at all! (Still do though). Ah the 'joys' of shift-work...

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