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Hi Joe, Fascinating thread. I exercise regularly (6-7 times per week) and maintain a daily log--yeah, one of those :(. I've been exercising regularly forever--well, for the last 50 years or so. I've been keeping my daily log for the last 15 years. If I graph my average and max heart rates, and include a trend line, the trend line for my average heart rate is downward sloping, which I attribute to improved fitness, consistent with your hypothesis. However, the trend line for my max heart rate is slightly upward sloping. For the last few years, I've been able to hit 186 bpm (I'm 59) consistently (mainly when sprinting on bike rides). My thinking was that as I got more fit, my heart became more efficient and my average rate would fall (consistent with what I have observed), but my max heart rate could go up or down due to different, and opposite effects. I've read elsewhere that as we get older, our max heart rate declines. I thought regular exercise might counter this, hence the slight upward trend in my max heart rate, and my ability over the past years to consistently hit a max of 186. However, your theory would suggest the trend line of my max heart rate should be downward sloping, and my max heart rate should decline over time. I also thought that as I got more fit, and my heart got stronger, it would be able to pump faster (not just stronger/more stroke volume). I guess my bottom line question is: why wouldn't greater fitness translate to both a faster stroke rate and a stronger stroke volume?
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2015 on Max Heart Rate and Fitness at Joe Friel
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Aug 24, 2015