I'm not a doctor but…
Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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I'm 50 years old with a good level of cycling specific aerobic fitness. Been back cycling for the last 4 years now, always been active, 64kg's and never been overweight. No significant health issues.
Until recently I thought my maximum heart rate was 179 BPM.
Since riding with a group this last month I've discovered my max. heart rate has topped out at 189 BPM. This happens whilst climbing hills with the new group and on a typical ride might peak 1 to 3 times. Where once I took it easy climbing, this group goes harder on the uphill sections.
The general intensity of these rides is higher than I was accustomed to. I limit this ride to once a week and ride more gently for the other 3 or 4 rides per week.
My question is whether this is a sensible and indeed safe level of intensity for someone my age to be riding at.
Last edited by Tim on Thu May 09, 2013 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My late cousin was doing 180 average on sustained climbs (25km up Kolodong) and ~200bpm in sprints, in his late 60s and early 70s. He was about your weight.
I remember that conversation clearly - I was thinking "Jeepers! No wonder I can't keep up with you going up hills! ", when he continued in his slow country drawl "Yair, I went to see the doctor about it. He said so long as it comes down again quickly, it's not a problem " Not much to argue with there
I'd still go see the doctor and get your ticker checked out for any irregularities or arhythmia.
Mine peaks at 182, usually when I'm less fit after having a break due to illness or injury, but my usual peak levels seems to go up by a beat a year rather than down per the conventional wisdom.
FWIW, a cup of coffee and a race situation sees me comfortably hit 5-10bpm higher and hold it compared to the same Rate of Perceived Exertion in training. For example, in a 50km mtb race I have averaged 171bpm over the first hour.
The main thing is to do these sorts of things regularly but build up to them slowly. Having an extended break and then hitting this sort of intensity suddenly without a build-up is a recipe for a myocardial infarction. Allowing adequate recovery between efforts is also important for dudes our age. I have a lower intensity recovery week every third, which has actually helped me build fitness faster and reach higher levels than previously.
Looking more closely at your post, the one longer and higher intensity ride during the week with the others being "maintenance" is pretty consistent with the 100km off-road race training regime I follow that was published by Mark Fenner in Australian Mountain Bike mag in June '10. With the modification I mentioned (recovery week every third instead of every fourth for over-40s riders) it has worked pretty well.
I still get a bit "over it" by the time the event rolls around, but doing well at the event always makes that easy to forget.
I have found since hitting 50 last year that I need to pay more attention to recovery and keeping any weekly volume increases to 10% or less.
You should be putting this question to your GP - he knows your medical history and is qualified to advise you.
I asked my GP that question when I found I could hit 190bpm. He was unconcerned, but suggested that I could have an exercise stress test to allay mine.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
Thanks fellas. I'm not overly concerned about this. My HR drops almost immediately after the extreme efforts. It's interesting to see HR plotted over terrain elevation on a graph. The two lines follow almost identical corresponding tracks across the graph.
Due for a check-up soon so I'll ask the GP. Never had any coronary issues.
I was recently reading that a high proportion of people involved in extreme physical activities such as marathon and ironman type events exhibited heart tissue scarring and fibrillation problems in later life. This got me wondering about short bursts of maximum, all-out exertion and whether it is a good thing, or not. In my case though I have never come close to marathon type levels of effort.
I give good odds you GP will not be worried about your max HR and if you are worried, your GP should send you off for an exercise stress test.
I had a myocardial infarction 3 years ago aged 49, just bad luck, bad genes and lots of small lifestyle factors, been riding a lot more since then and 12 months ago started racing.
I had an exercise stress test 6 months after my myocardial infarction, everything was fine. I am on the usual drugs including beta blockers which reduce my HR and reduce my performance.
Run most things past my GP, he was not worried when my max HR went from 161 to 170 when I started racing. We even altered when I take my drugs, so I can race with the least performance hit. Last check up, it was, "since we made those changes, my max HR has gone up from 170 to 175" his 1st response "that is impressive for somebody on beta blockers". Next checkup it will be "new max HR is 181".
I wouldn't worry about it. I'm 57, 67 kg, 177 cm. I get my heart rate up to 180 bpm every couple of weeks.
Twice a week, I do high intensity interval training, after about 20 minutes warm up. If I feel immediate strain trying to get my heart rate over 170 bpm, I cut back to a brisk ride at a steady pace, because I think struggling to get over 170 bpm is a sign I am over tired. Similarly, I want my heart rate to drop to around 100 bpm within about three minutes after an intense effort.
Earlier this year, doing a high intensity effort on a steep hill, my heart rate went to 186 bpm, my peripheral vision started to blur and my nose felt as it it was going to start bleeding. I suspect the dividing line between serious training and going too hard gets narrower with age.
Nobody younger than <del>27</del> 28 has experienced a month cooler than the 20th century average.
I consistantly peak out at 196 BPM and train for the majority of my ride in the 175 -185 BPM range. I recognised from reading here and there that this was on the high side of the majority of the samples I read about as well as higher than the averages of the few other riders I occasionally ride with.
Took this issue up with my GP, he said if I was recovering my HR rapidly from peak level back to working level and if I was feeling no ill effects both whilst training and after training then my HR was simply a tad higher than many other's and not a medical issue........
3rd class cycling is always better than 1st class walking
I wouldn't know. And I don't miss not knowing.
Though I have to admit a certain vain buzz when the young girl in the office happened to have a peek when our contracted wellness person took our sitting pulse. She figured no-one in an office should read 47bpm. Let alone someone old enough to be her grandfather.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
Tim, I think its more ones diet and health that would determine how hard they can push their heart VS their age.
Unfortunately most aussies are a heart attack waiting to happen. Look at Jim Fixx. He was lean and trained a lot. He said he 'could burn off any fatty food with cardio'. He was right BUT he forgot the hidden effects of diet on arterial health. Dr Esselstyn talks about this more in his best selling book.
Vegan since 2001.
I have many people who allude to my appearance of good health in flatterign terms. And generally I'd agree. I am lean. I exercise more than enough and do not need to use age-norms to jsutify anything. However I also cautionthem into assuming that what is happening under the skin is all good just from appearances and exercise. An oft used one-liner I trot out is "Abs are found inthe gym. But lost in the kitchen.
All in my family, including my mostly vegetarian sister of no extreme habits all hover and have forever I suspect, had hi cholesterol, around the cusp at 6.
My GP rang me the other day to advise me that my cholesterol level had got higher than that for the first time. (Not much detailatm.) It is not that big a shocker. It is quite likely that I have contributed to the increase with poor diet of late - I've been quite slack with chees of late fro example.
Exercise may reduce other risk factors, but it does not necessarily stop your arteries from getting clogged.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
Well I'm older than you and I train specifically to get my heart rate up to maximum when I do interval type training. It has never occurred to me that might be a problem. I see it as a way to get fitter and faster more efficiently. I guess it depends what you are trying to achieve.
That'll increase the strength of the heart muscles, and will also increase the amount of capillaries feeding muscles that your particular regime is targeting. It'll develop capillaries that move oxygen from the lungs and CO2 to them. All good things that reduces risk.
However, AFAIK, intense exercise does not greatly reduce clogging the arteries with fat. (Neither does diet greatly for that matter but that is another story.) I am in the situation where it is wise watch out for the day that fat may start being layed down. My advice to others who exercise and have a strong aerobic capacity is to not assume that arteries therefore do not need watching.
I've got an appointment with the GP this week though I am not too sure that medical protocols in Australia do much other than listen with a stethoscope where there are no symptoms outside of an adverse LDL reading.
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
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