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014 HRM Can Detect Veteran Heart Disease

HRM Can Detect Veteran Heart Disease

The value of HRM in scientific cycle training is not disputed. Plus points of HRM include:
Improvement of race fitness
Prevention of staleness
Improvement of mindset
Providing data on over-training and recovery
Prevention of max Heart Rate being exceeded
Governs cycle speed on attacking steep inclines
Provides guidance following a lay-off due to injury or influenza
Provides guidance when cycling into anaerobic debt
Allows adjustments during time trialling
Allows maximization of cycle training programs by the use of training zones
HRM therefore promotes optimal cycle training but actually does not replace racing experience.

Heart-rate based training is therefore, relevant for optimal training. The value of morning pulse-rate and setting of training intensity are well described by Malcolm Tucker (RIDE: Vol 2: Feb/March 1999; page 8). He also has reviewed the value of HRM and lactate metabolism (lactic acid production, onset of blood lactate accumulation and determination of OBLA); the details can be resourced in RIDE: Vol 2: Apr/May 1999; page 54). The relevance to lactate tolerance training are explained in RIDE: Vol 2: June/July 1999; page 54.

The application of HRM in preparation for the 94.7 km cycle challenge is well documented by Ian Martin in RIDE: Vol 3: Oct/Nov 1999; page 68, in which he classically describes training at 75% of max HR and speed aerobic riding at 80% of HR. Martin has extensively reviewed the importance and application of training zones (aerobic, speed aerobic, threshold or anaerobic and red line zones) - see RIDE: Vol 3: Dec/Jan 1999; page 86. He gives excellent advice for cyclists going for a sub-3, Argus and how to apply HRM - see RIDE: Vol 3: Feb/March 2000; page 122. Specific types of road cycling training sessions can be found in RIDE: Vol 3: Aug/Sept 2000; page 74.

Douglas Ryder gives excellent advice on how to be competitive, yet work 9 to 5. His guide to cycle training (including role of HRM) are reflected in RIDE: Vol 2: Aug/Sept 1999, page 58. Advice is given for short and long interval days, squad training, spinning and racing.

Together with heart-rate monitoring, it is important not to neglect the relevance of optimal sports nutrition, fuels for sport, supplements and the prevention of dehydration and over-training.

For up to date details on fitness go to www.ride.co.za or read RIDE(c) Vol 5, page 20, October 2001. An excellent cycle training resource by Steve Haupt, can be found in the September edition of RIDE (page 13). Don't miss this overview.

Your max heart rate is roughly determined by 220 minus your age. So, if you are 46 years old, your max heart rate will be about 174 bpm. If you push your HR to 105% of Max HR (say 185 bpm) and you have underlying undiagnosed IHD, problems can be expected. Also if your HR is around 144 bpm and then jumps to 180/190 bpm, then the chances that you have exercise-induced atrial fibrillation is good. This is a non-innocent heart arrythmia. It often means coronary heart disease in the age group 40-60 years. Untreated, it could be fatal and cause a stroke. For intermittent AF, pills are available (beta-blockers; Tombocar(c)). Unfortunately, the condition tends to recur if you push your cycling (i.e. day after day and when attacking hills). The purpose of the beta-blockers is to slow down the heart and restore the abnormal arrythmia to sinus rhythm (normal regular heart beat). Continuous AF increases your risk for a stroke. Chronic medication and cardioversion may be needed. A consultation with a cardiologist is imperative. You need to take it easy from now on. Avoid long cycle tours (i.e. over 100 km) and exhaustion. More rest is needed to ensure recovery, not only of your body, but your heart.

Tip for the veteran or senior cyclist:

If your HRM suddenly shows a severe jump in heart-rate, you could be suffering from a cardiac arrythmia. Never ignore this. Get to your health care profession as soon as possible. Pills are available to regulate your heart rate. Don't temp fate and go for the shorter cycle tours. The ageing process also affects the heart and heart rate. Be careful if you feel a fluttering in the chest together with breathlessness (tightness) and a fast heart rate (say 180 bpm).

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