Heart Rate Weirdness?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 29, 2009 10:16 PM GMT
    Hey guys:

    So I was doing light cardio today, and noticed that my heart-rate, normally steady at between 158 and 173 (depending on how intense I'm working out) suddenly dropped from 163 to 138, held at 138 for a while, then jumped up to 158. I didn't feel anything strange, but that doesn't mean anything with me (I've got a bad reputation for injuring myself and not noticing, and ignoring anything out of the ordinary). I was on the elliptical, and this is the second time that this has happened.

    My question is: have you guys ever experienced this? Is this an artifact of the elliptical, or the result of too much caffeine today? I'm wondering if I should go get a reliable wearable monitor for when I'm running out-of-doors.

    My family has a history of heart disease, with most everyone starting in their very early 30's (my sisters both, my mom, grandmother, grandfather). My brother and I appear to have avoided this curse, but it could also be that we're just stubborn bastards. Neither of us go to the doctor or hospital unless we're forced. We're also the most physically fit in our family, and both former smokers.
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    Dec 30, 2009 12:47 AM GMT
    If it only happened once, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If it continues, have it checked out by a cardiologist.

    I had a strange heartbeat issue earlier this year. It was a bit frightening at first, but turned out to be nothing (well, nothing treatable, or worth worrying about). I barely notice it anymore, unless I'm at the doctor's office and I forget to tell them when they try to take my blood pressure (it always reads wrong if I don't tell them).

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    Dec 30, 2009 1:55 AM GMT
    Those cardio machines are rarely accurate.

    If you're really curious, go ahead and get an HRM. You can pick one up for less than $100 from Polar or Timex.
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    Dec 30, 2009 2:00 AM GMT
    If you were using the elliptical to measure heart rate I wouldn't be concerned, probably a measurement error. It easy to check with a watch, count beats for 10 sec and them multiply by 6.
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    Dec 30, 2009 4:04 AM GMT
    Don't sweat it.

    If you really want to know, you can get an old fashioned EKG for around $20.00 from a decent cardiologist. He may charge you $450.00 to read it, though.

    For a better look, you can have a sonogram done, which allows measurements, and real time visuals, of the inner workings of your heart. It's a fascinating diagnostic.

    I had both done a couple of months ago. I am considered at zero risk of stroke, and zero risk of a heart attack.

    If your electrolytes are off, your heart will misbehave. May sure you have enough potassium and sodium in your diet. Too little, or too much, of either, are not good, but, both are needed.

    Fluid volume also affects your heart rate. As you become dehydrated your heart rate goes up to compensate. It's important to have enough water.

    If you want, you can have a cardiac risk profile done, which is basically a CMP with some hormone tests, and maybe have your fasting glucose checked too, just for good measure.

    My doctor said there was no need for a stress test in my case, as my heart is stronger, slightly thicker, and vital (typical for any advanced athlete).

    The rate monitors at the gym sometimes are off, or are intermittent.

    An EKG is the fast test, as I understand it. It takes about 3 minutes, start to finish.
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    Dec 30, 2009 4:06 AM GMT
    Daytona saidIf you were using the elliptical to measure heart rate I wouldn't be concerned, probably a measurement error. It easy to check with a watch, count beats for 10 sec and them multiply by 6.


    This is, I find, a MUCH more reliable system than whatever the elliptical tells you.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Dec 30, 2009 4:32 AM GMT
    SAHEM62896 said
    Daytona saidIf you were using the elliptical to measure heart rate I wouldn't be concerned, probably a measurement error. It easy to check with a watch, count beats for 10 sec and them multiply by 6.


    This is, I find, a MUCH more reliable system than whatever the elliptical tells you.


    I agree, the heart rate monitors on the exercise equipment are somewhat dubios in terms of reliability. If you were feeling something, dizzyness, etc, then I would be concerned. Of course I'm not a doctor but in my opinion I would not be concerned.

    On another note, I rarely can get my heart rate up over 150, that just seems kinda high.
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    Dec 30, 2009 5:29 AM GMT
    I was sweating it out on the elliptical last week and at the end of 25 min, my HR was 80/min...so they can be inaccurate...no worries
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    Dec 30, 2009 6:57 AM GMT
    well-said chucky!

    since you have a family history of cardiac disease, i recommend that you go to the cardiologist and get an evaluation. you already lead a healthy lifestyle, so, i wouldn't worry too much. it's still great to see what your baseline is and be able to get an overall picture of your cardiac status
  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Dec 30, 2009 10:49 AM GMT
    Without using a HRM strap I don't register on Ellypticals for 20 minutes,then bounce between 55 (below my resting heart rate) & 160 ,going up & down several times (sometimes gaining 100 in a second). I really hope it's the machine & not meicon_smile.gif
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    Dec 30, 2009 11:36 AM GMT
    Don't worry about this for now. If you are used to "training" with the heart rate monitor on the eliptical, then I would invest in a heart rate monitor/watch that you can use indoors or outdoors. Polar and timex both make a good one.

    What you described sounds more like a glitch in the machine which can happen with a heart rate monitor as well. Yesterday my HR was 193 while warm up walking then dropped to 84.

    If you notice your hr is staying lower than it had been while doing the same intensity of work out it could be that your heart is getting stronger and working more efficiently. The only way to know this is to train with a monitor and keep track of it like you would your weight workouts.

    Good luck
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    Dec 30, 2009 12:35 PM GMT
    I have an arythmia for which I take multiple medications so I closely monitor my heart rate while working out. When I'm in atrial fibrilations, I can usually feel it. The HRM function on machines and on wrist watches give you an average HR over an interval but it can vary substantially among devices. I've also noticed that some days the low-level FM for the televisions can interfere with my readings.

    But, since you noticed this and because you have a history of heart disease in your family, you should mention it to you primary or cardiologist. He/She may want to put you on a Holter monitor. It's basically a digital recorder that will provide him with a 24 or 48 hour EKG and will record any abnormalities. You don't want to screw around with this; some arythmias can cause strokes or heart attacks and left untreated they can permanently damage the heart.
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    Dec 30, 2009 8:14 PM GMT
    i find a HR in the 160 zone for light cardio work very high.
    Should hang around 145-150 for your age.
    But genetics play a role too. Anyway, as long as you feel ok with it.

    The misbehaving came most certainly from the machine. You really ought to get a HRM.
    Just buy a basic model. The bells and whistles of the fancy ones are pretty useless unless you have a coach who wants to monitor every second of your training.
    You need current, max , min and average HR readings, laps and that's about it.

    Or you get a Garmin forerunner 305 or 405. Then you get distance, elevation,
    tracking and several other cool data but it's not essential.
    I have one because i use it for running, mtbiking and XC skiing , no more need of a bike computer .
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    Dec 30, 2009 8:17 PM GMT
    Celticmusl said
    SAHEM62896 said
    Daytona saidIf you were using the elliptical to measure heart rate I wouldn't be concerned, probably a measurement error. It easy to check with a watch, count beats for 10 sec and them multiply by 6.


    This is, I find, a MUCH more reliable system than whatever the elliptical tells you.


    I agree, the heart rate monitors on the exercise equipment are somewhat dubios in terms of reliability. If you were feeling something, dizzyness, etc, then I would be concerned. Of course I'm not a doctor but in my opinion I would not be concerned.

    On another note, I rarely can get my heart rate up over 150, that just seems kinda high.


    I routinely hold my heart rate, when I'm in top condition, at 160 for 12 to 20 minutes. This is a great way to improve cardiac threshold, but, an unconditioned person should be aware that your blood pressure will come up when you do.
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    Dec 31, 2009 11:41 PM GMT
    Thanks for all the great advice guys. I've ordered a Timex HRM, and we'll see where that goes. Y'all are the best.
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    Jan 01, 2010 12:28 AM GMT
    I have had similar experience on the elliptical in the past occur, and it freaked me out a little.

    First, I would say that the machine's HR tracker is not very reliable like others have said in this post. Don't rely on the ones on the machines! Sometimes they say 70!

    At one point last year, I was doing the elliptical an hour a day, 5 times a week for about 6 months.
    My heart rate on the elliptical seemed to go up and down from 130 all the way to 180, and had some "turbulence". But what was scary is that in the beginning it would go from 120 to 165 or so within minutes. I asked my doc about it because it would spike up pretty quickly, and he said that it was normal to see fluctuations because your body is simply adjusting to the activity, in other words, that is what your body should do.

    I don't know if you are new to the elliptical or not, but honestly over time I noticed as I conditioned my heart it fell into a more of a consistent range of 135-140 (at least in my experience). I bought a HRM (Garmin) and I noticed that it was more consistent the more I did it. After training on the elliptical for months, it generally stayed at about 135-140, again with more consistence.

    Last year I had a echocardiogram done because I was stressing so much about it! and the results came back. My cardiologist said that my heart was in great shape and saw no thickening of the walls and that all measurements and motion were well within a normal range; expensive, but a relief. And now I don't worry about it.

    Still, I would mention it to your doctor, I am no expert on these matters...

    Other fun filled stuff:

    hile not exactly the same situation, you might enjoy the read--I learned alot from this post someone sent me in a post from a long time ago

    http://www.markallenonline.com/heartrate.asp

    Hope this helps you!