Wednesday, September 17, 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

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

Nige,

 

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. 

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