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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 09-13-2007, 09:01 PM   #1
Matthew Townsend
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When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

I had an ECG this morning in order to change insurers and the print out suggested that my resting heart rate is 37 bpm. The guy taking the measurement said that it was the lowest he can remember seeing. My heart rate rhythm was regular.

I usually get quizzed before giving blood. I have to tell them that I exercise nearly daily for them to allow me to donate. But then it's usually 45-47 bpm.

At what point might it be said that my heart rate is too low?

I'm 40 btw and in addition to CF I cycle about 150ks a week. I can't believe that I'm in bad health, but I wouldn't be surprised if the insurers want the test repeated.

Before then, it would be good to get a better idea as to what this all means.

Last edited by Matthew Townsend; 09-13-2007 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

When it's 0.

When I was cycling, I had a resting rate of 38-40. I'm still alive. In theory a lower rate suggests a more powerful beat and/or a more efficient cardiovascular system. You just have to understand that docs and nurses see sick and dying people and most of their data are based on a population that doesn't represent health. So someone your age who comes in with a resting rate of 80 or so is called normal/healthy, which is nonsense.
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Old 09-13-2007, 10:08 PM   #3
John Thompson
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

When I was in the hospital last year the nurse woke me up to do some stuff and said that my 40 bpm HR would concern the doctor so she put a higher number on her report. She wasn't a nurse that I would say was in anyway familiar with fitness.
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:28 AM   #4
Roger Harrell
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

A nurse intentionally fudged data because it might worry a doc? That is a truly scary concept. "You may be dying, but I'll adjust the numbers to not worry the docs."
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:34 AM   #5
Kevin Platt
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

I had the same sort of situation when going to give blood, my heart rate was below normal and I had to explain that I was a regular exerciser, but even then I had to have two more checks before they finally decided that I was in the elite fitness category (oh how my head swelled). Of course having given blood twice since then I have been low but not in the elite category anymore

All that being said you may want to have it checked again just to ensure it isn't a health problem, but until then enjoy the feeling of being an "elite" athelete
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:15 PM   #6
Matt DeMinico
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

shoot, don't worry, I know of people (marathoners) who've tested theirs down in the low 30's. They said it was weird, it'd feel like "beat... one missisippi, two missisipp.. beat..."

I imagine it's because their body was SO adapated to conserving energy that at rest, they needed barely anything.
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:47 PM   #7
Brandon Oto
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

One of the teaching assistants in my EMT class was an athlete, and his blood pressure was so low that nobody could find his pulse. They'd think they missed it, he'd go, "wait for it," and there it'd be...
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Old 09-14-2007, 01:12 PM   #8
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

It doesn't take much to rattle some of my colleagues.

When I had my pre-op screening last November prior to cervical disc surgery, a nervous nurse called a cardiologist to review my EKG on the spot because of "bradycardia": two-bit medical term for heart rate less than 60 bpm.

There are EKG changes in athletes that are non-pathological, but can be markers of cardiac disease in non-athletes, most commonly T wave changes and ST segment elevations. These last two are seen in patients with myocardial ischemia, and often accompany angina---exertional chest pain. If you have these EKG changes, you're either in great or horrible cardiovascular shape!


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Old 09-15-2007, 09:48 AM   #9
Kevin McMillan
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

it is said that monks in deep meditation can reduce their HR to a few beats a minute. if your heart stroke volume is trained to the point where you need only beat 30-50 BPm congrats, your in a very small catagory. '0' is bad... if you feel really weak or lacking in any energy, heavy limbs, then a low score like this could meen trouble.

personally (kinesiologist/track and field) ive read a 31 in a steeple chase runner, theres nothing wrong when its purely due to training. like i said, just meens you have a great SV
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:21 PM   #10
Michael Polletta
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Re: When might your heart rate be said to be too low?

Your HR will only be too low if it causes your blood pressure to be too low. Your BP is too low if/when you get chest pain, dizziness, nausea, pass out, have trouble breathing, etc. I'm a paramedic and deal with this a lot. You don't treat someone's low HR unless it's causing symptoms and you are feeling those symptoms. If you're HR is in the 40s and your BP is OK (meaning you aren't feeling any negative symptoms) that HR is OK for you. As someone else mentioned, a slow HR in an athlete is compensated by the heart beating with greater force, which keeps your BP normal for you. Hope that helps.
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