What is in a heart beat?

Because your resting heart rate indicates how efficiently your heart pumps blood throughout your body, your pulse rate is a useful tool for gauging your fitness level. Athletes tend to have lower resting heart rates because training programs that build speed, fitness, muscle and endurance also train your heart muscles to pump a higher volume of blood with each heartbeat. Ultimately, it takes fewer heartbeats to power a well-conditioned athlete during intense training as well as during rest.

Now heart rate differs with age and gender. While the normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, conditioned athletes and other highly fit individuals might have normal resting heart rates of 40 to 60 beats per minute. This indicates a high level of cardiovascular fitness. Gender is another factor in resting heart rate norms because women at various fitness levels tend to have higher pulse rates on average than men of comparable fitness levels. For example, the average resting heart rate of an elite 30-year-old female athlete ranges from 54 to 59 beats per minute, while the resting heart rate for men of the same age and fitness level ranges from 49 to 54, according to the YMCA’s “Y’s Way to Fitness.”

But then people differ … my friend Jim and I are of comparable fitness – he is slightly younger, taller and thinner but his heart rate is way, way  higher always when we ride together – yet his breathing gives no indication of a high HR like mine would at that bpm…..

EXAMPLE: Here is a stretch of road we both did recently a few days apart  – same time same wattage and we are same weight.

james seg

JIM ave HR 165bpm/174bpm max

RICH ave HR 123bpm/133bpm max

rich seg

As soon as Jim moves his heart rate is 150bpm but mine rarely rises as much although in anaerobic sports like 5 a side football going from still to full sprint it does sometimes hit those high peaks of 180bpm+ (my 100% max)

Screenshot 2016-05-03 11.30.07

Although I get slightly worried about my friend’s high HR it also appears that people with a low resting HR (me) can need pacemakers later in life as the heart doesn’t function as well with age. Will need to question my cardiologist pal next time I see him.

2016-04-25 19.14.24

5 a side football (soccer) – and what it does for you aerobically and anaerobically

Played football (not to be confused with that American game played with hands and an egg shaped ball HANDEGG?) last night for the first time in months. I had given up after a brutal kicking one night but headed the call when short of players and popped down to Firhill where the games are played on astroturk and the boards at the side ensure that games don’t stop (unless you catch a breather in goal.

Put on the Suunto t6c to see what workout I got in an hour and I was pretty surprised at the result. Definitely in the anaerobic camp of exercise.


Heart Rate average was 149 but this includes time in goal – HR max was 180 (not bad I thought my HRmax was high 170 odd)

Heart Rate

You can see brief warm up then game on – following a goal we normally change goalies and you can see where I went in (and the long nearly 10min stint where I didn’t concede a goal) then out again and later on another shorter goalkeeper stint.

What also surprised me was my predicted VO2 reading of 49 ….


Here is some blurb gleaned from the internet …. my VO2 should be higher if I can do a sub40 10km race …. (52??)

Here’s how to use the number to make some predictions in your race times and your mortality
If your VO2max is less than the number listed by your age, your decreased fitness is at least as risky as smoking one pack of cigarettes per day or having diabetes or hypertension.


Age 20-39             36.75  less than this is as risky as smoking cigarettes
40-49                   34.65

50-59                    30.80

60 and up       26.65


  In addition, a VO2 max check-up can give you some idea of what to expect in an upcoming 10K.  For instance, if your VO2max is approximately 40, you should be able to run the 10K in about 50 minutes.  With a VO2max of 45, you should cruise through a 10-K course at about 45:15.  At 50, you’ll run a 41:20, at 55 you’ll post about 38:06, at 60 you do about 35:30,   65 gives you 33 minutes, and 70 equals 31 minutes flat.

I thought that snowboarding was anaerobic?

An open letter to Ed:

He was of the mid that the snowboarding we had done was anaerobic – “no I said aerobic … anaerobic is more like sprints and squash and some parts of footie” takes a long time to explain in the car and he was chatting about the way slip differentials on a car work (I think).

So typical examples of aerobic training include distance running and cycling.

The opposite of this is anaerobic, meaning ‘without air’. During anaerobic activity, such as powerlifting and sprinting, the body’s requirement for energy exceeds that provided by breathing. Without enough oxygen, the muscles’ ability to perform is dramatically reduced and can only function for short, intensive bursts.

history lesson:

Aerobic and anaerobic are words originally applied by bacteriologists to bacteria. Aerobic the word applied to the bacteria requiring free oxygen in order to live. Anaerobic the word applied to the bacteria able to live and survive in the absence of oxygen or air.

Later, as exercise started to become more and popular, these words were adopted to designate certain types of exercise. Most everyone is familiar with “Aerobic Exercise”. Not everyone is familiar with non-aerobic or anaerobic exercise.

When performing a set of aerobic exercises you are causing the body to utilize oxygen in order to create energy. The oxygen is needed to breakdown glucose. Glucose is the fuel needed to create energy. However, the opposite applies to anaerobic exercises. In anaerobic exercises the body creates the energy without oxygen. This basically is because the body’s demand for energy is greater so that it will find natural body chemicals to create it.

Breathing properly when exercising is very important. The air enters the lungs and the oxygen in the air is passed through the lining of the lungs. The oxygen is taken up by the red blood cells. The red blood cells enter the circulating blood carrying the oxygen. The blood goes to the heart and is circulated throughout the entire body. The muscles use this oxygen for the needed energy as it is being used will give off a waste product (carbon dioxide). The carbon dioxide (CO2) is in turn released into the blood stream and returned to the lungs to be exhaled.

The above explanation may be simplistic in its description. However, I assure you it is an extremely complicated feat of nature. That is why it is important to know why and how you are exercising. Your heart rate when exercising can determine whether you are doing aerobic or anaerobic exercise. The maximum heart rate for men is 220 less your age. For women it is 225 less your age. The goal rate for exercising should be 70% of your maximum rate. When the heartbeat is faster than the 70% you are doing aerobic exercises. This is further complicated by resting heart rate and fitness but the above guide is pretty close for most people.

How exercise is performed will determine it to be aerobic or anaerobic. Any type of movement your body makes requires the use of energy. You don’t have to do aerobics to lose weight or maintain a desired weight. It has been determined that anaerobic exercise will burn more calories than aerobic exercise, on a ratio of 5 to1 basis, and even as much as a 7 to 1 ratio. The aerobic exercise will burn 25% muscle and 75% fat, while anaerobic exercise will burn 100% fat.

Examples of aerobic exercises are:

  1. Aerobic classes / Step class (fast movements).
  2. Treadmills
  3. Exercise bicycles
  4. Ski machines
  5. Jogging

Examples of anaerobic exercises are:

  1. Weight lifting
  2. Machines that offer high resistance
  3. Dumbbells

Anaerobic exercises use resistance so that you will also be building muscle and bone as an added benefit. Aerobic exercise will have more of an impact on the cardiovascular and circulatory system. Combining the two would give the greatest health benefits.
So which do you do?

Are you the kind of chap who spends hours pummelling the pavement to get your fitness hit? Or are you always in the squat rack perfecting your one-rep max?

Summary:  Ed you are an aerobic machine