Friday, October 31, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2008 Nige, Community Member, asks

Q: I am a 49 yr old male. My resting heart rate is 38 bpm average. This seems low. see details below.

I have been very fit for most of my life up to around 42yrs old. Since then I have been involved in Real Estate consuming most of my waking hours. Very emotionally demanding & stressful (commission only) I have tried to keep fit but my excercise time has been intermitant definitely not regular aerobic excercise.

Over the years I have monitored by heart rate & it has always had a resting rate of between 38 to 42 bpm. I have put this down to being fairly fit but when my Father died in 2002 from one severe heart attach it made me consider my own cardio fitness.

I did do a year of distance road cycling often doing 100kms rides taking approx 2 hrs when my heart rate would stay at a fairly constant 12o to 130 bpm which I found easy to handle and definitly helped with the stress. I would consider my self to have typical type A behavior. Very competitive, anxios at times, hard to rest of relax, quick to anger etc.

How do I find out if my low resting heart rate is good or can it be bad?

I have recently had an ECG & was told that I had good rhythm & was as strong as an ox!

but I don't excersise much at the moment and constantly feel stressed out.

Should I undertake a full 'stress test at a clinic and where would I find out the best place to go? I live near Brisbane, Qld. Australia. Any help you can give me would be very much arrpreciated. Regards, Nige

Answer This
Answers (1)
Martin Cane, M.D., Health Pro
5/29/08 1:54pm



Interesting question.  Your resting heart rate of 38 is definitely below what is considered normal (60-100).  However, physical fitness can definitely affect this.  I have seen professional basketball players who routinely have resting rates in the 30's.

The question to be answered: is this low rate OK for you? 


You will need to consult with your physician who will take a history and examine you.  He will then decide if further evaluation is necessary.  By your letter, your heart rate does respond to exercise as expected.  The need for a stress test will be determined by your physician.  Your father's history is also a factor in his decision process.


Thanks again,


Martin Cane, M.D. 

Answer This

We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By Nige, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/17/12, First Published: 05/25/08