Reading a book by Dr Christiaan Barnard on maintaining a healthy heart.

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25/07/2012 at 18:06

In it he states that to get the maximum results for a healthy heart, any exercise should be between 50 and 75% of your maximum heart rate. Any less is a waste of time, any more can damage the heart. For me (age 45) thats a range of 88-131.

I run for mainly health benefits, not racing, but regularly go over 131. Am i really doing more ham than good.

25/07/2012 at 18:34

Of course we damage the heart at higher rates. That's why the bloody thing gets stronger. Its called training.

25/07/2012 at 19:01

I do imagine he is perfectly correct. The longest living people are generally not those who do extreme or high intensity exercise but do a lot of lower intensity stuff. However, going faster and racing makes people feel good and perhaps better to have a shorter, happier life than a long but dull one?

seren nos    pirate
25/07/2012 at 19:18

is your max only 176.....mine gets that highthan that  even on the bike and not even  racing

25/07/2012 at 19:52

I only mention it becase its a book i'm reading atm. I think its safe to say that in general its better to do some exercise than none, but 75% is actually quite a low percentage. My last run averaged 145 but hit 160. Thats around 80% MHR, which according to Mr Barnard could be doing harm.

25/07/2012 at 20:02
I've go a heart condition and am monitored by my cardiologist to make sure that my heart isn't under any sort of 'real' stress. They've put me on a treadmill and forced my heart Rate up to 200 beats per minute to see and monitor the effect.

I was told in no uncertain terms that having a healthy heart and exercising did more benefit than any damage I could do sitting round on my ass doing nothing. If you're concerned about it - see your gp or focus your running based on heart rate. You start off slowly and build it up.
25/07/2012 at 21:01

Emmy, the choice isnt exercise or doing nothing. Its about how much and how hard to exercise.

I must admit the book by Dr Barnard is very basic, but he was no doubt an expert in the heart.

25/07/2012 at 21:22

Dr Barnard died in 2001 so I guess his ideas, while revolutionary in their time, might now be outdated?

25/07/2012 at 22:08

My point is, and its a valid one, is there a point where running becomes so intense that it does more harm than good.

Just asking the question.

25/07/2012 at 22:47

I think it is good you are researching it. You should research it until you are happy you have an answer you believe in. Don't be fobbed off by people who don't really know what they are talking about but are happy to distribute their advice freely. This is just the way of the internets as per KK's statement.

In the mean time you should know that lots of credible people recommend training at 70% max hr or lower as a way to build up endurance (base training). These include HADD, Maffetone and Lydiard. So there is no harm in you doing that while you are researching if that makes you feel better. However, be warned. Trying to keep your HR at 130bpm while running is very hard to do if you are a newbie like me. I tried it 3 days ago and walkers were overtaking me - SO embarassing Since then I decided to just run slowly rather than focus on the HR. For me that is 12 min/mile.

Edited: 25/07/2012 at 22:48
26/07/2012 at 00:05

To calculate this correctly: 220 - age = max.

Min = resting heartrate (probably around 60, unless you are Chris Boardman (at his peak 28 aledgedly.. but I can believe it... ultimate athlete... respect).

Max - min is your range divide this by 100 to tell you how many beats per 1% over min!  That is the bit that is generally forgotten.  So at 45 your max is 175, your min is 60 (ish) 50% is half way between them 118, and 75% is 146.  Having said that, you should be operating at 80 - 85%, if you wish to improve your fitness.  BUT 90% is heart attack territory, unless you are used to it 2 yrs timew, maybe.

Having said that i have to cycle for ages to take it through 140 to 150.  When I run I hit 155 before I have left the car park. Cyc ling will burn more calories if you can hit 25 mph. but for mere mortals running works better.

26/07/2012 at 00:35
What does improve fitness mean?
26/07/2012 at 01:33

  Improve, by adaptation,the ability to undertake physical tasks (every day or beyond) without endangering life through unexpected trauma. 

26/07/2012 at 01:37
Hehe ok my point was just that there are different kinds of performance, adaption and improvement which include endurance, stamina, strength, etc. Not all of these are best served by operating at the heart rate you stated.
26/07/2012 at 01:45

Hang on, looks like a newbie to me... less than 75% is a waste of time, unless you are seriously obese.  131 is a joke for 45, He should certainly not be backing off at that point.  I have warned him off 90% (162) which I think is sound advice, in the early days. 

26/07/2012 at 01:50
Ok looking at my own records (I'm a newbie coming from a backdrop of obesity) and I can see you are right
26/07/2012 at 01:57
kittenkat wrote (see)

Gotta love online stuff.

Basically, I don't think anyone can answer this effectively without knowing your weight, exercise history, current fitness etc... And probably a few more things.

But I'm sure they'll try

Does she mean me?

Still, one does have to challenge ones self.  Even marathon training includes a weekly dose of speedwork.

26/07/2012 at 02:00
No I don't think kk meant anyone specific. Personally I plan to focus on building up my weekly mileage and I will only add speed work etc when I am happy with my volume of training.
26/07/2012 at 07:06

Using the accepted method of working out HR zones, it is 144. Thats max hr-resting (49)x .75 plus resting. Still quite low.

However, since i started running about 10 mnths ago, in general i have slowed down, especially since i got a HR  monitor. I'm sure my first 6 months were all at 95%, ....madness.......



26/07/2012 at 08:06
King K wrote (see)

To calculate this correctly: 220 - age = max.

220 - age is NOT an accurate measurement of max heart rate.

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