I meant to ask a week or two when it cropped up but here goes.
I had a little health check recently as I had a shoulder injury and the docs wanted to check me over anyway.
They were quite shocked at first when they checked my pulse. It was only 39 bpm. They almost panicked and I had to explain that I think it is because I have always been into sports and particularly cycling.
After being well grilled they finally seemed to accept my “explanation”. Everything seems normal to me and pulse is very strong etc. Out of interest I checked a few of my non cycling friends and they were mainly between 70 and 80 bpm at rest!
I don’t recall what my resting heart rate was before cycling.
I have been a cyclist for about 7 years and each year I’ve gotten fitter and fitter. Local hills I used to struggle up now are easy and I sometimes wonder why I used to dread some routes. (I’m not a hill climber, just a generally stronger cyclist like most people are after a year or so etc).
From my quick research, I don’t think a low resting heart rate is that unusual for cyclists.
I’m joking but does this mean I will live twice as long or perhaps die early because no blood is flowing around my body anymore
I think as my heart is stronger it doesn’t need to pump as often when resting.
I’d be interested why the body does this. Why over time would a resting heart rate reduce as one got fitter?
Is a much lower resting heart rate common among cyclists and other endurance type sportsmen and women?
Mine is 56 based on my garmin 935 while I am sleeping. To me 39 seems quite low but I am sure it is genetics based.
When I was active duty and required to get an annual checkup I was always flagged for a low HR. If they left me in the room for a few min before checking it would be in the 30’s if checked as soon as walking in it would be 40’s to low 50’s. The Doc would even joke with me about how the medical community didn’t know how to react to fit people.
Had a bad bike crash while IM training a few years ago and by the time the meat-wagon showed up my HR was in the 40’s and they thought something was wrong. In the hospital they had to keep adjusting the low trigger point for my HR because it would go off the more relaxed I got with the aid of morphine.
Mine is 40 typically, +/- 2. It is genetically low but nothing to be alarmed about if normal for you. I use Whoop, and I am typically in the lowest 5 % for heart rate even for trained athletes. I’m no superstar, if only my VO2 max was as strong.
Two to three years ago when running was my main sport I would have a resting heart rate of 45.
Nowadays it’s 72, had some injuries in those years.
So I don’t think yours is too low
My resting HR is bouncing between 35 and 40+, on a normal day, depending on TR work the evening before. I’d say you are OK. In good shape and OK.
If you listen to the podcast, both @Jonathan and @chad got resting HR around there (dont remember if @Nate_Pearson reviled his) , and I don’t hear them freaking out .
I’m 43 and ran for 5 years and now been biking for a year. My last doctor visit my doctor only listened to my bpm for 5 seconds and said “oh you have that runners heart beat”. I’m 45bpm at rest.
Forgot to add my wife’s a RN and she said that it is rare to have one that low but she’s not surprised by mine.
You’re completely fine. Endurance exercise causes the left ventricle to enlarge. During endurance workouts, more blood and oxygen are required to the peripheral tissues of the arms and legs in highly trained athletes’ bodies. A larger heart results in higher cardiac output, which also allows it to beat more slowly, as more blood is pumped out with each beat. Some doctors are not used to seeing endurance athletes, so they may get shocked at low resting heart rates. I heard a story recently about how Davis Phinney was injured when he was racing in the 80’s and when he went to the hospital the doctors thought he was about to die because his resting heart rate was in the 30’s. The lowest I’ve heard of for a cyclist was Miguel Indurain, who recorded a RHR of 28. I think the world record was recorded by a runner named Daniel Green, and his RHR was 26.
Mine was 39 when I was in the military and I would get comments back then. I’m 20+ years later and sitting around 49 on average but in the low 40’s at times. I do get some concerned nurses but the Docs usually don’t seem to care.
39 RHR here too. Docs have checked many times; pre-race physicals and such. Not an issue.
The opposite end of the scale, which is my case, also is not necessarily indicative of a problem as well.
The technical term for a low heart rate (generally defined as <60 bpm) is bradycardia. And it is often associated with a range of heart problems with the heart not delivering enough oxygen to the body, which is why doctors can get concerned.
However, there is also “exercise induced bradycardia” where regular exercise over a long period of time result in an enlarged heart and more efficient heart, that can deliver all the oxygen the body needs at very low heart rates. This is generally considered to be a benign, even a positive condition, and is pretty common in endurance athletes, especially cyclists.
I wouldn’t have said that was out of the ordinary. I’m 43 and from wearing my Apple Watch to track sleep my lowest HR recorded overnight is anywhere between 43 and 47 bpm with the consumption of alcohol and/or caffeine before bed generally relating to higher readings. I know the Apple Watch isn’t the most accurate and it isn’t constantly monitoring but I’m not really wearing it to monitor resting HR if I’m honest.
I’m 62, on a recent visit to hospital I kept setting the alarms off. When I explained to the staff about my training for Triathlon, they were more than happy. My rhr is low 40s.
Back when I was running the mile competitively in college my HR got as low as 34 in the mornings.
Similar to you, my doctor about had a heart attack when he took my pulse. Had me perform a stress test (EKG I think?) on a treadmill to rule out all of his concerns. It took numerous follow up visits for him to conclude that I was simply an endurance athlete. Ha!
The heart is a muscle just like everything else in your body. If you continually subject it to stress, it will adapt and enlarge. This growth will allow you to pump more blood (stroke volume) to feed the muscles for sustained efforts. What this means is that at rest, your body doesn’t need all the blood volume so the heart rate slows to reduce the volume. This is a condition called Athletes Heart Syndrome and is very normal. If you stop exercising, your heart will return to “normal”.
its a little reassuring to hear that everyone “trained hr” is around that level.
Mine is some where between 38-42, but I dont seem to have the top end either, at 36 my HR tops out a 173 (extreme) or 165-169 with training on the Velo
When it comes to pulse, it’s more about the strength of each beat rather than the number itself. A RHR of 35 isn’t unhealthy if you are still pumping a large amount of blood around your body. If you are not emptying and refilling your heart with each beat then you have issues. RHR is also partially genetic so some really fit athletes can still have a RHR in the 50s.
To get back to your OP, I wouldn’t be concerned as long as you are not having any other cardiovascular issues like palpitations or arrhythmia
I’ll routinely get 40-45. It was only a handful of years ago that (heavier and less fit by far) it was mid 60s. Doctor thinks it’s perfectly fine. Annoys the Red Cross people because they have to call their doctor and OK it.
Mine gets as low as 43bpm when I am fit with max being 195.
I’ve had inexperienced doctors freaking out over both too.