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Do You Worry About Your Heart?

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Do You Worry About Your Heart?

Old 10-24-19, 08:24 PM
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bpcyclist
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Do You Worry About Your Heart?

So, there are many reasons most of us ride and one of them is for health, physical and mental. But unfortunately , in our general age group (I am 55), cardiovascular disease can become an issue. Exercise is obviously very good for the cardiovascular system. But all the exertion that comes with a hard ride also does, to a certain extent, increase the risk of a cardiac event in those susceptible. Personally, if I die on my bike, I will be a happy man. My question is, given the potential heart risks and given age, do you ever worry while you are riding that you are working too hard? Like, dangerously hard? Do you ever back off a little because of that? I ask this because, the other day, I was on a quite tough climb and I was really, really working and it suddenly occurred to me--hey, you may be in good cycling shape, but you're not 30 anymore. Maybe you should chill out.

I kept going. But it got me to wondering whether I was the only older fella who ever thinks about these things. If so, how does it figure into your riding? Just wondering. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 10-24-19, 08:40 PM
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Although this isn't directly relevant to your question, I was listening to an article on the radio talking about top tier cyclists needing to have a HR monitor with an alarm while they sleep. Apparently their resting HR is so low that they can die in their sleep. When their HR drops too low the alarm goes off and they have to start exercising to increase their HR.

I'm relatively new to biking and ride a torque sensing mid drive ebike that allows me to get just the exercise I want. Although I am very athletic for my age (63), I'm not a fan of stressing my heart too much. I have no real scientific reason behind it. Just a gut feeling that it isn't as good for your general health as many might think.
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Old 10-24-19, 08:55 PM
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I started wearing an HR monitor a few years ago, not because I was worried but so I see my effort. That was OK at the time, but now I use it to keep myself from pushing too hard. When I get up around 180 I figure that's enough, and usually my legs thinks so too. But I've hit 190 too, and that was just too high. As long as I recover normally I know I'm OK, and so far that's always been the case. It's hard to let go, but I try to stay under 175 now, and that'll go down over the coming years. I'm 64 now for reference. Oh, and given my age and the numbers I just threw out that calculator just doesn't work for me. What is it? 220 - your age? That would be 156 and that is just a steady tempo pace. I'm no natural athlete either, in fact the opposite.

So when going up a hill I usually go as hard as I can, but if the HR goes over 180 I let up, and the HR always goes over 180 if I push it. On the flats I only would go that high if I sprint and hold it.
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Old 10-24-19, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
So, there are many reasons most of us ride and one of them is for health, physical and mental. But unfortunately , in our general age group (I am 55), cardiovascular disease can become an issue. Exercise is obviously very good for the cardiovascular system. But all the exertion that comes with a hard ride also does, to a certain extent, increase the risk of a cardiac event in those susceptible. Personally, if I die on my bike, I will be a happy man. My question is, given the potential heart risks and given age, do you ever worry while you are riding that you are working too hard? Like, dangerously hard? Do you ever back off a little because of that? I ask this because, the other day, I was on a quite tough climb and I was really, really working and it suddenly occurred to me--hey, you may be in good cycling shape, but you're not 30 anymore. Maybe you should chill out.

I kept going. But it got me to wondering whether I was the only older fella who ever thinks about these things. If so, how does it figure into your riding? Just wondering. Thanks for your thoughts.
I know what you mean. I definitely think about it sometimes. But:

1. I don't really push it that hard ... even in endurance races. I pace myself.

2. I've had a lot of tests. I recommend a CT angiogram with contrast to check out the status of your cardiac arteries. I've had EKGs up the wazoo. I've been part of some cardiac clinical trials. I've had several echocardiograms to confirm that my heart was not enlarged and that all the valves were working the way they should.

If you're really concerned, get a complete cardiac workup ... then put your mind at ease.
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Old 10-24-19, 09:06 PM
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I'm 65 and a little overweight. I ride 13-15 hours per week and climb about 300,000 feet per year. I never check my hr while riding but if I push too hard for too long I feel like crap later. As long as I get rest days I'm ok.
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Old 10-24-19, 09:13 PM
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I've started to think I should pick up a HR monitor as well. I would like to see what my HR is when I'm pushing it. I've never run into the situation where I feel like crap later. But then again I am riding a ebike. I will ride hard enough to get fairly spent, but never enough to feel like I'm pushing my limits.

Do you guys use the HR chest straps with Bt? They seem fairly cheap and would work with my phone.
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Old 10-24-19, 09:21 PM
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I have a ride coming Saturday with around 5000 feet of climbing in the first 25 miles. On a ride like this I can control myself better than on a fast club ride.
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Old 10-24-19, 09:32 PM
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I try to push but just be smart about it and listen to my body. I donít go so hard that Iím gasping for breath, I make sure my breathing is measured and steady even if breathing faster, or my legs are in too much pain.

I donít use a hr monitor but will usually check my hr a few minutes after my ride and then maybe an hour later to make sure itís lowering and normal. For me, using one during the ride would spoil the fun a little ; )
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Old 10-25-19, 01:14 AM
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Being a Happy Septo, I'll use the gym a lot more these days. It's stuffed with oldies doin' cardio, weights, etc etc, all at discount subscriptions. Love the Les mills stuff which I've mentioned here. Love going over the hills around my home, and Wales when I'm there. Never feel better than after a hard, short (I hour or less) trip. HR max 145 or so. I never get that high.
But I jus' wonder who'll be first in the queue if ever I need mouth to mouth . . .
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Old 10-25-19, 01:15 AM
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Should I have worried and cooled my jets because 20 years ago my first ECHO revealed 3 leaky heart valves? ---- nah

Should I have worried and cooled my jets back in 2011 because my low HR set off the HR Monitor when I was in the ER following my bicycle crash? --- nah

Should I have worried and cooled my jets because my heart rate when hooked up for my Pre-Op ECG prior to the removal of the right half of my thyroid back in 2013 was 32bpm? --- nah

Should I have worried and cooled my jets because my heart rate when hooked up for my Pre-Op ECG prior to my surgery for Prostate cancer in 2015 was again 32bpm? --- nah

If I had worried and cooled my jets, this 69yo geezer would not have had the tremendous fun I had all those years because now I'm a crappy rider compared to those days thanks to my cancer screwing up my riding abilities.

Play to the max while you can, 'cause you never know. Worry if you must since you never know. Different strokes for different folks.

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 10-25-19 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 10-25-19, 03:01 AM
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Given that I've got 2 damaged valves and arrhythmia, and have had since I was 4 when I developed Rheumatic fever, I do worry about my heart now and then.
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Old 10-25-19, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by fly135 View Post
Although this isn't directly relevant to your question, I was listening to an article on the radio talking about top tier cyclists needing to have a HR monitor with an alarm while they sleep. Apparently their resting HR is so low that they can die in their sleep. When their HR drops too low the alarm goes off and they have to start exercising to increase their HR.

I'm relatively new to biking and ride a torque sensing mid drive ebike that allows me to get just the exercise I want. Although I am very athletic for my age (63), I'm not a fan of stressing my heart too much. I have no real scientific reason behind it. Just a gut feeling that it isn't as good for your general health as many might think.
Not sure what you were listening but this was brought up in the movie about Pantini back when EPO first became popular. Blood was so thick that heart would stop while sleeping so they would have to wake up and ride the trainer.
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Old 10-25-19, 04:07 AM
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Using the monitors on the equipment at the gym for many years now has given me a pretty good ability to guestimate my heart rate and it’s never as high when I’m biking. Even a long steep climb doesn’t have the same effect on my heart rate as intervals on the elliptical, pushing hard on a rowing machine, or running on an incline. I’ll keel over in the gym long before I will on a bike, which is what passes for “comforting” at my age.
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Old 10-25-19, 05:47 AM
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As has been said, a person has to know their limitations. It does not seem wise to go full throttle over the course of a lifetime. Any devise that is operated at that level will fail well before its normal life span. This applies to people also. To push the engine a bit keeps life interesting and fun but a steady diet of fun is likely to end the party too soon.
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Old 10-25-19, 07:09 AM
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Old 10-25-19, 07:25 AM
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Im 81, ride about 25 miles every other day. My blood pressure runs right at 122 over 67. My resting heart rate is about 60. Why should I worry? Worry is useless and only give you ulcers.
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Old 10-25-19, 07:37 AM
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I have seven coronary stents. I also have diabetes. Both of these things increase my risk for a cardiac event.

I have taken steps to minimize the risk. My BP is normal and my cholesterol level is below 100.

I eat a heart friendly diet, get plenty of rest and minimize stress (although in my profession thatís is not always easy).

I ride over 6K miles a year with plenty of climbing.

I donít overly worry about my heart.

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Old 10-25-19, 07:43 AM
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Sometimes I wonder if and when my mechanical heart valve will need to be replaced. That would suck.
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Old 10-25-19, 07:58 AM
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My heart's been broken many times in the last 60 years, but its always recovered.

Seriously, I didn't worry about heart stress until I developed an arrhythmia issue a few years ago (medication controls it quite well). I don't worry about dying because of it, but more about the limitations its placed on me.
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Old 10-25-19, 08:24 AM
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Assuming the human heart can only beat so many times over a lifetime, it is probably a really bad idea to increase heart rate. Oh to hell with it, I'm still gonna ride.
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Old 10-25-19, 09:21 AM
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Interesting article about strenuous exercise and the risk of heart attack and cardiac arrest. https://www.health.com/heart-disease...aed-bob-harper
Focus is on folks in exercise facilities, which nowadays have AEDs - and often someone with CPR/AED/first aid training is available.

Tips for cyclists with exercise-related cardiac concerns: Always ride with someone who is CPR-trained. Always carry a charged portable AED. (Lifeline AED weighs about 4 pounds) Always ride within range of a cell tower, in order to call EMS.
(And, discuss your concerns with a healthcare practitioner, as needed.)
Have a nice day and have a nice bike ride!
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Old 10-25-19, 09:56 AM
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I have a history of heart disease in my family: dad, uncle, and their mother all had MI's. I can't do anything about that, but I've managed to limit the other risk factor (don't smoke, don't drink, healthier diet, stress management, weight control, exercise (obviously)). I get a check up every year: numbers are good (actually my PCP says my cholesterol ratio is as good as he's seen). No restrictions from the doc.

So, no. Despite the family history, I don't worry about it.
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Old 10-25-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Sasquatch16 View Post
Not sure what you were listening but this was brought up in the movie about Pantini back when EPO first became popular. Blood was so thick that heart would stop while sleeping so they would have to wake up and ride the trainer.
It was on NPR. I do recall something about thick blood. Not much beyond that. I just ordered a cheap Bt chest monitor. Curious to see what my HR is doing on a ride.
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Old 10-25-19, 10:12 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by GeezyRider View Post
Assuming the human heart can only beat so many times over a lifetime, it is probably a really bad idea to increase heart rate. Oh to hell with it, I'm still gonna ride.
Why would you assume that?
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Old 10-25-19, 10:14 AM
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I’ve had 4 heart attacks none of them were while exercising. 3 of them were when either sitting down or laying down one was while driving. I was an active bike rider during all of that time, most recent was 2 months ago. I do have coronary artery disease it’s mostly from genetics (high cholesterol). They have occurred at about nine year intervals with no symptoms before the event. The last one was several months after a dye test in the cath. lab that didn’t show a problem that would trigger a repair. For me it’s just a ticking time bomb but I don’t worry about high levels of exercise triggering one.
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