"Poor" resting heart rate or recovery heart rate -- should I be worried?

Not sure where I should post this, but a few weeks ago I entered a personal physical training program for people with chronic health conditions. It’s run through my health region and I was assessed by a kineseiologist.

My resting heart rate was 91. And after just two minutes of walking my heart rate rose to I think 120. Then I was told to rest for two minutes. After, my heart rate was still in the 110s. The kineseiologist told me that I had “some goals to reach.” I went home and googled it and those numbers are, like, beyond poor. I asked her about it the next week and she said it’s because I’m out of shape and not to worry about it just to work on it.

I admit to taking a “baby break” from physical activity, but I’m not that out of shape cardio-wise. Besides, I asked my family members and friends to test their heart rates (we bought a heart rate monitor) and even those who are really physically inactive don’t have bad numbers like that. In fact, all had resting heart rates in the 70s or lower, which is normal.

Has anyone else had these kind of numbers? Is this an indication of a cholesterol problem or --god forbid-- heart disease? I used to smoke and I’ve never had my cholesterol checked. As of today, I’m only 10 lbs overweight and I’m 30. I’m LADA.

Honestly I’ve been scared to ask this question for a while because heart disease scares the bejesus out of me. Especially because i used to smoke. Oh, if I could take that back!

Well, resting heart rate is a key indicator of overtraining, but that is hardly what you observed. I doubt you are overtrained. The fact that your heart rate rose fairly quickly upon exertion, but did not come down is simply reflecting that you are not fit “yet.” Don’t overthink this. Your heart rate is fine. If your heart rate had gone up to 180-200 and did not come down, then you would have had something to worry about, but 120 is nothing. At the age of 30, your should be able to push your heart rate with aggressive cardio well above 150. When you become fit, your heart rate will drop more quickly when you stop exercise.

To properly test your resting heart rate consisently, measure your heart rate first thing in the morning. Everyones heart rate varies. I would bet your resting heart is more like 70-80.

Also when they took your resting heart rate did you just walk in or was walking around a bit before they took it? Another also did you get nervous while they were taking it? Like bsc said take your own heart rate in the morning and see how that number is.

I talked myself down this way too, but she had me sit silently in the chair for 5 minutes before she took it. My home heart rate monitor and the treadmills all give the same result.

I’ll test it when I get up in the morning. Although it might be higher because the baby wakes me up!

So there is no relationship between this and cholesterol? Why would mine be so much higher than even my friends who, with all honestly, are morbidly obese and don’t do any physical activity?

There is no direct relationship between cholesterol and heart rate. Yes, if you had cardiovascular disease from high cholesterol, you may have a poor resting heart rate, but the FAR more likely reason is that this is due to deconditioning (being “out of shape”). If you experience chest pain or significant shortness of breath then you need to see a doctor IMMEDIATELY.

At my last endo appointment, my resting heart rate was over 100 and my BP was high, so she had me go for an EKG. It was normal, but I think that high heart rate can mean that something is wrong, or not. She was not concerned enough to want to see me or send me to another doc before my usual 6 month appointment. I think that I was just nervous and very stressed at that point (my first finals period of graduate school). Now that I’m monitoring both at home, I’m back to normal (mostly). My heart rate varies from 55-95 resting. I was running close to 10 miles a week in the summer and now I’m at maybe 6 during a good week, so I work out, but not excessively. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Keep in mind that a fast resting heart rate can be associated with autonomic neuropathy, and is pretty common in diabetes. I have this issue too…But I was put on a Beta blocker, and it’s worked really well. (Now my resting heartrate is in the 60s, and when I exercise it doesn’t really get higher than 110.) If that’s the issue it has nothing to do with being out of shape, or having high cholesterol, it’s just a sign that your heartbeat isn’t being triggered properly. (Yeah, that’s completely non-technical, but that’s the gyst of it.)

I realize this sounds a little scary, but it’s really nothing to worry about, as long as you get it under control, and beta blockers are the easiest way to do that. There really aren’t any side effects to beta blockers for most people…except that you can do public speaking without getting nervous. :slight_smile: So if the issue does turn out to be neuropathy, try not to stress. Again, it’s very treatable, pretty common, and not the sign of anything more dangerous going on…

I’d definitely bring this up to your endocrinologist, and see what he thinks. He may want you to see a cardiologist just to be sure. (Mine just put me on a beta blocker, though, without even recommending I see another doctor.) Good luck, and again try not to worry too much!

I just wanted to start off by Thanking you for asking this question! I thought I was the only one with this type of thing.
I know that I am out of shape but I have been working on it very slowly. Some time ago I was on a training machine (in a real gym down south) and one of the staff came over and checked out the numbers of the machine and told me I needed to get off and rest NOW! My HR went up to 198 in less then 14 minutes. I was not impressed and felt really stupid. It took my body almost over 30 mins to slow down to get into the mid 90’s.

I mostly workout at home on my own treadmill or walk outside. I am trying to keep my HR in check and keep in the 130’s to 150’s. I want cardio not a heart attack. It is frustrating but it is slowly getting better.

I just wanted to Thank You again! It helps me out too.

I just have to say, that if you have had diabetes and have complications and certainly if you have ever had heart issues, you do need to approach exercise with some caution. But when you are young and in pretty good health overall, like (presumably) Kelly and Carly here, you have to realize that exercise is not a particularly risky activity, you are going to feel discomfort well before you hurt yourself. When you drive yourself too hard, you are going to get out of breath and experience a great deal of discomfort, but you are not likely to give yourself a heart attack. A chart of overall heart rates during exercise is here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Exercise_zones.png). Individuals vary by perhaps as much as 25% from this. I am 50, and I can routinely sustain heart rates of 160, well above what the charts say I can do.

Yes, I forgot to mention this in the question because I thought it was weird. My blood pressure is great and always has been. Before all this happened, I used to give blood and it was always like 110/70 ish.

The friend I was referring to in the earlier post was 265 lbs at her highest. She began working with a personal trainer and eating better. At the start her resting heart rate was 98 and her blood pressure was consistently over 160/110. She has been working really hard and she’s down to the 70s HR and her blood pressure is normal. She’s about 200 lbs. now. I thought it strange that my HR is as high as hers was and my blood pressure was normal.

Thanks for the info bsc. I’m definately going to continue working on getting into better shape!

I will mention this at my next appointment as I know I had LADA for quite a long time before it was diagnosed or under good control.

I think my resting heart rate was about that high when I was diagnosed… but I also had high blood pressure, nearing 140 mmHg. All that has gone away, now that I have lower carb intake. (Not Exactly as low as those who follow Dr. B, but low enough per meal or snack, so that I will not spike out of control.) It also made me a bit more conscientious of my daily salt intake. While I don’t go completely low salt, I have started using a lot less salt in cooking, and dishes, as I used to… I can really notice the blood pressure rising, from my now normal levels of 100s and 110s, to 120s, on days on which I have bacon, for example. My resting rate is now between 65-75 or so. I don’t test after exercising, because that can be a bit misleading… Some people take a little longer than others, to come down, especially, if you are not in shape, or have recently started exercising. Even cold weather can affect numbers. Once I took it after I had exercised, and then went off my merry way to the grocery store… I figured, I’d had enough time to do my thing, and come back, so I should have cooled down… Well, it’s full blown winter here, and when I got home, though my BP was not exactly horrible (128/81), but my HR was 94. When you walk, do you walk indoors, in some facility…? Or were you walking outside in the cold? In cold weather, there is more oxygen demand by the heart because it is working harder to do the work and maintain body heat… and it can take longer than just a few minutes, indoors, to get it down.

How are you tested for autonomic neuropathy? My endo has never given me a physical or once over yet.

Autonomic neuropathy typically sets in after complications like peripheral neuropathy. If you are already experiencing complications, then you may want to check out whether you might have autonomic problems, but even if you have been a diabetic for a few years, it is unlikely that your first complication would be autonomic neuropathy. Keep in mind that Elizabeth has been a diabetic for more than 35 years, and even counting the several years before you got a decent diagnosis, you have only been diabetic a few short years.

Don’t let these worries keep you from exercising. Exercise is very important.

Oh no, quite the opposite. I went to the gym after reading the posts yesterday. Thanks for the info. I’m going to do more reading up on this as well.

I have relatively the same problem. I’ve had this problem for over 10 years. It took 8 years to get the proper diagnosis too! Regardless how fit I may be, a simple jog or quick weight-lifting for 5 mins will send my heart into the 170’s.++ Resting has always been between 90 - 110. My cardiologist has done um-teen tests, and has finally diagnosed it due to the diabetes, nerve damage to the heart.

I take a calcium channel blocker and I must say it has changed my life.

Maybe ask your Endo or Cardiologist (if you have one) to run the 24 hour or even 3 day hoister heart monitor and get an ultrasound done on your heart. Hopefully that will help with a diagnosis.

I truly don’t believe it is because you are out of shape. Something is up.

Best of luck

Thanks for the info. I am definately going to bring it up at my next appointment. Hopefully nothing is wrong, but it’s better to know about it and treat it if there is a problem.

Kelly, I’m new to this board and only found it because I was doing research on heart rate recovery. Sorry for all the disclaimers but I must stress that I am not a doctor and I am not an expert in heart rate recover. With that said.

I wouldn’t worry about the resting heart rate, from all that I’ve read it is simply an indication of your fitness level. (Unless you are in A-Fib and your heart is racing 200 beats a minute) However your recovery heart rate has me concerned. All the research I have read would lead me to say that you MAY have a heart condition.

I use to be an athlete but I’m now overweight and haven’t worked out much. However I raised my heart rate to 162 and 2 minutes later I was at 129. For you to have dropped only a few beats after 2 minutes, according to the research, indicates that you MAY have a problem with your heart.

I do not mean to be an alarmist, I am cautious when it comes to health. But I really think you need to do some research and then go and see a doctor. I have no idea how well versed doctors are on the recovery heart rate but the research shows that it is as good of a pronostication tool as nuclear imaging.

I hope I am not being irresponsible by giving my opinion on this. But do me a favor and be cautious and talk to a doctor before you do anymore strenuous exercising. Also find a doctor that will not just laugh off this information. Let me know what happens.