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Resting and Exercise Heart Rates Predict Heart Attacks

Posted Jul 05 2009 10:19pm


Many people exercise to lose weight, improve fitness levels and prevent heart disease.  When we do aerobic exercise we try to increase our heart rate.  Researchers in Paris have been evaluating men’s heart rate responses to exercise and have found some interesting observations.

Heart attack risk is four times greater in men whose resting heart rate is greater than 75 beats per minute, and in men whose heart rate doesn’t speed up by more than 89 beats during exercise.

Heart attacks are twice as likely in men whose heart rate doesn’t slow down more than 25 beats during the first minutes after stopping exercise.

The latest study (published in the European Heart Journal 2009) found that pre-exercise heart rates can also predict future heart attack risk.  They checked men’s resting heart rates just before they started exercising.  This is considered a measurement of the body’s physiological anticipation of exercise.  Men whose heart rates increased by 12 beats or more just prior to exercise were found to be at a higher risk for future heart problems.  The researchers suggest that a high-risk heart actually over-reacts to the anticipation of exercise. 

This is an easy screening method.  We do not know if the same is true for women, no women were involved in this study.  So if you are going to exercise check your heart rate before, during and after your workout.

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