Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resting Heart Rate & Leather Football Helmets

For the online fitness walking class I’m taking, we have an assignment to calculate our upper and lower target heart rates (THR).  The formula requires us to figure out resting heart rate (RHR) first.   We can use the two finger over the carotid artery approach or if we have the heart rate monitor, just strap it on first thing after waking up and see what it reads.

So the other morning, I wake up and strap on the heart rate monitor.  My resting heart rate was 46! 

I remember about 20 years ago having an annual physical and the doctor telling me I had an athlete’s heart.  Not that I had any idea what that meant.  What he meant was that I had a lower resting heart rate and that it was okay – nothing to be worried about and probably a good thing.   Hmmm, okay.

Skip ahead to my most recent annual physical at 56 (different doctor, nurse, HMO, etc…).  My doc is a good guy, he is much younger than I am, maybe 40ish.  He is originally from another country.  The conversation went like this with me sitting on the examination table having vitals taken:

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Nurse (looking at my heart rate of 52):  C’mon, bring it up a little bit, uh, you feel okay?

Me:  Yeah, I feel fine.

Nurse (afraid I’m about ready to pass out): Let’s give it a little more time, you’re up to 53 now, good.

Nurse (disconnects everything, writes down notes about low heart rate for doctor, leaves room)

Doctor (after going through many other physical things asks in regards to low heart rate): Were you an athlete when you were younger?

Me: Yes, in high school.

Doctor: What sports did you play?

Me: Football, wrestling

Doctor:  What position did you play?

Me (who weighs ~155 lbs.):  Guard.

Doctor (seems to be quite aware that guards usually weight much more than that):  That must have been a long time ago.

What happened next, I still do not know if my doc was just joking around with me or if he was serious – I really do not know.

Doctor (with a straight face, all business):  Was that when they played with leather helmets?

Me (thinking – dude, how old do you think I am????  Looking to see if he has a smile on his face – which he did not):  No, I’m not that old.

Doctor: Do you exercise now?

Me: I walk, a lot,  I do half marathons and am training for a full marathon.

Doctor:  Oh, okay, you have an athlete’s heart.

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Leather helmets!!!  I still have no idea if he was serious or kidding around.  But doc, just in case you ever see this, here’s proof – me, high school, 1972…  

1 comment:

  1. Comment on the doctor and nurse

    I would imagine this nurse would have admitted Lance Armstong during his peak,
    maybe would have even put the paddles on right then and there. His resting
    heart beat was 33!!

    Shame on them for not listening to you as most doctors do not and that is common
    throughout the industry and corporate world.

    It is understandable how we stereotype a certain look but when bring the
    comments forth to our lips we better make sure of what we say. AND when we are
    professionals that are trying to help an individual we need to add
    professionalism to our comments. For a nurse or doctor to say what they did
    becomes a question of trust more so than an insult. How can we trust someone to
    "take care of us" if we are led to believe they are not listening and do not
    trust what we tell them!

    Who is that young football player,ha Today the look is different but the heart is the same!