Resting Pulse Rate of 45: Is it Normal?

Is a resting pulse rate of 45 alarming? I narrate my story to explain why it is not so.

I just woke up early in the morning in anticipation of my weekend run. While I take the effort to run at least two to three times in a week, the hectic responsibilities in the office would not make it possible. But there is an inner resolve that I will go back once again to such routine.

The quiet of 4 o’clock in the morning relaxes my mind and I feel the calm in my body. I feel good.

Earlier, I bought a wrist blood pressure monitor to replace the old one I had used for regular checking of my blood pressure wary of possible circulatory problems. But this was defective, meaning, it records higher than the conventional sphygmomanometer by 20mm Hg upon comparison. So I was forced to return it to the drugstore and had it replaced by the more reliable Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor HEM-7121 of Omron. Omron claims that this gadget provides accurate and comfortable upper arm blood pressure measurement with its so called enhanced IntelliSense Technology.

The saleslady admitted that indeed, many of those who bought the gadget heard the same complaint as mine. That local, cheaper brand blood pressure wrist monitor displays alarmingly higher blood pressure than what it should be.

Resting Pulse Rate of 45!

Looking at the display after taking the third measurement of my blood pressure as it settled in about 12 minutes, the blood pressure monitor showed 123/80 readings of my systolic and diastolic pressure. And my resting pulse rate is only 45! In my previous post in 2014, it was 44 beats per minute.

According to the National Institute of Health of the US, the normal resting pulse rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Anything lower than that is a troubling condition called bradycardia or abnormally slow heart action – a symptom of heart disease.

Exercise for geeks (Source: xkcd)

But is this something that I should be concerned of? Not really, as I had been regularly running three miles without stopping for the past five years. I consider myself belonging to well trained athletes with resting pulse rate ranging from 40 to 60 beats per minute. Well conditioned athletes like Daniel Green registered a resting pulse rate of just 26 beats per minute.

Now I can hear the rains pouring outside. My exercise for the day may be averted, but I can still wait for an hour for it to subside. Alternatively, I can just run at the roofed bleachers of the sports complex to complete my regular three, sometimes four, miles in roughly 30 minutes.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services of the US recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s roughly 30 minutes everyday. But you can add more time of both intensive and moderate workouts to reduce weight. Benchmark your resting pulse rate to see your progress through time.

Happy running.


The Importance of Time Management and Exercise

My designation to a higher position impacted on the rank of this site. I could not write just like before as my tasks zap my energy to levels that prevent me from writing online. But I need to make updates or new blogs to keep this site going and at least maintain its rank and audience. The importance of time management comes into the picture.

Being designated a higher position next to the highest position in the organization means having to contend with so many administrative tasks — tasks that require an entirely different work atmosphere that left me very little time to do research work.

The Importance of Time Management

But is time an issue? Is it not because of how we handle time?

Despite the heavy workload, I was able to do some tasks related to at least two research projects specifically on human waste management and the time-consuming systems analysis of water pollution in El Nido, a popular tourist destination in the northern part of Palawan Island. Two other projects on community empowerment and a book project on endangered species of wildlife await. Earlier, I finished a book project on endemic, charismatic and amazing wildlife of Palawan where I live.

I once felt overwhelmed, incompetent and guilty of not being able to do what I should do in the projects where I am involved. But upon reading a book on time management titled “Effective Time Management” by John Adair, I changed my perspective.

I discovered that I am using my time optimally, meaning, I should not feel guilty of not being able to do what I need to do.  Using Time Tracker, a free software I use in Zohrin, a Linux distribution, I realized that I am not wasting any time at all. I just need to prioritize my work. And of course, I also need rest to let my brain take and body take much-needed rest.

Time for Exercise

Indeed, the work that I do is stressful, but I cope up with regular one to two hours of exercise in the morning. This time is allocated specifically for this purpose. I give premium to exercise as I found out that my stresses are gone after I finish my two or three-mile run. In fact, I have run four 10Ks in the past two years. My best time so far is 1 hour and two minutes last April. I hope to get a sub-hour on my next run, or I might as well try the 21K. Running this distance without stopping is a product of regular 2-3 mile runs for the past four years. Running at least three times a week made this possible.

As workers, how can exercise help us? According to Mochon, Norton, and Ariely (2008) regular activities like exercise, give positive boosts that bring higher well being. Incremental boosts provided by training had a cumulative positive impact on well-being.

Hence, don’t underestimate the importance of time management particularly including exercise in it. Exercise reduces not only stress but also improves learning and mental performance (Cotman and Berchtold, 2002). Regular physical exertion enables researchers to do more mental work and face all work tasks with a general feeling of well-being. It must be an integrated part of your time management program.


Cotman, C. W., & Berchtold, N. C. (2002). Exercise: a behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity. Trends in neurosciences, 25(6), 295-301.

Mochon, D., Norton, M. I., & Ariely, D. (2008). Getting off the hedonic treadmill, one step at a time: The impact of regular religious practice and exercise on well-being. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29(5), 632-642.


5 Time Management Strategies for Researchers

Do you always find yourself too stressed out as things to do come your way? Do you feel that here are just too many research tasks to attend to each day and you need time management strategies badly? Here are five time management strategies for you.

If you are one of those guys looking for ways on how to manage their time more effectively, here are 10 time management strategies distilled from the research literature and from people who managed their time well enough to meet their life’s goals.

5 Time Management Strategies

1. Track how you spend time

Log your time. It is important that you know where your time actually goes. Knowing your typical use of time can guide you in understanding how you behave each day of the week.

By logging the actual time you spent on things will help you identify which of your activities really matter and which ones are just time wasters. That will give you an important insight if there really is a need for you to make changes in your routine.

If you are comfortable with what you are doing, then congratulate yourself. You’re a good time manager.

If not, then it’s time to take action. Time for you to read and apply the next strategy.

2. Prioritize your activity

Do the important and urgent ones first than any other category of activities or work. There may be things that are urgent but not really important so  you can just skip them in your schedule.

So what things are both important and urgent? This varies of course between people because each individual has his own set of priorities in life. What may be important for you may be unimportant to someone else.

For example, socialization may be deemed necessary by others but you find yourself uncomfortable dealing with people. That’s because you have a different personality. So why bother. Just follow your heart and do things you like without being pressured to attend a party or whatsoever that you don’t like anyway.

This means that you should have a set of priorities that will guide you in determining which things are both important and urgent. List these priorities down to remind you each time you are in a decision making situation.

3. Arrange your things and files

Arranging your things in their proper places can help you save time. Retrieval will be easier in a well organized environment. Just don’t overdo doing the organization as this will also eat valuable time.

Specifically for your files, a simple scheme that you may adopt will be to categorize your files according to priority, that is:

  • Important and urgent,
  • Important but not urgent,
  • Urgent but not important, and
  • Not important and not urgent

You may use this filing scheme in your computer to avoid wandering about while searching for the digital files you need most. Despite that there is a search facility for computers, many users do not know this feature and how to make best use of it. Simplify by getting your files at least in the categories where they should belong.

4. Give ample time to do your best

Doing your best each time can save time. While there are situations that you need to optimize or do things quickly in neither poor nor perfect state, doing quality work avoids spending time correcting errors.

Take note, however, that quality is sometimes confused with perfectionism. There are always things that you will likely miss. So missing out a thing or two is normal.

In empirical research, there are always rooms for error. This is referred to as probability of error. Errors are opportunities for others to criticize or make corrections on what you did. This paves the way towards a healthy interaction.

5. Have time for relaxation.

Giving yourself time for relaxation energizes you to face another hectic day. Reward yourself by doing things that excite you after accomplishing a major task. Subconsciously, your will to do another challenging task will strengthen and do another thing with vigor.

If you are health conscious and justifiably you should be, a jog or brisk walk in the morning each day can help you relax. Moderate aerobic exercise of 150 minutes each week can get you into good shape.

A healthy body means more time to do important and urgent work as well as keep you out of the sick-bed. You will then be more energetic and productive.

Adopting a personal time management strategy can help you allocate enough time to do your passion as a researcher. Doing research entails a lot of thinking.

Thus, researchers must take an extra effort to manage scarce resources such as time. The five time management strategies mentioned can help you figure out the best use of your time.

©2014 November 1 Patrick Regoniel


Running at an Even Pace Works Better than Negative or Positive Splits

Does pacing matter in finishing running races or marathons? It does. I narrate my personal experience of running a 10K and a quick review of literature.

As my enthusiasm in running grows, I also learn a lot while doing it to improve my performance. My very limited experience in my three 10K runs so far gave me good insights. And research has time and again provided good information to verify lessons learned from experience.

This is what I learned: that pacing evenly in running appears to be a better strategy than running the race fast in the early half and slowing down in the next half (called positive split) or running slow the first half and faster in the second half (negative split).

Research findings support this observation. In an article titled Pace Yourself in Runner’s World, researchers found that current world records in running were broken with an even split or simply uniform speed all throughout the race.

Applying the Positive Split

Taking the advice of a runner friend and just for fun, I tried the positive split in the 10K run I joined last Sunday, May 4. That means I’ll run as fast as I can for four minutes or so, then establish my pacing for the rest of the distance.

I did run so fast in the first kilometer that I am ahead of the pack (I never thought I could do that) but then I slowed down to establish my pace after roughly four minutes of sprinting. At that point, I saw many runners whiz past me.

My pacing appears to be too slow for the fast batch of athletes who maintained a fast pace but I was not tempted to keep pace with these well-trained athletes knowing I have a very limited training period of a little over than one year. Those runners have been training for decades! I saw my runner friend take the left lane to keep up with the pack.

I tried to keep up with the pacing of a well-known veteran runner (he’s 74 but still running strong) but decided that the pace is too fast for me so I lagged a little behind. Besides, as I ran with him at the left side, I am wary of the vehicles behind me and decided to stay behind him and see how he paced himself. I noticed he’s adding more speed in his pace as I try to keep up, or probably it’s me generally reducing my speed as I feel my legs are no longer cooperating as they should.

Anyway, I still saw him when I was a few hundred meters away from the finish line. I finished at 1 hour and 3 minutes. Not bad for a 10K but not so good as my previous one-hour 10K when I applied the even running pace. I felt my legs almost cramping in the last 50 meters or so. But I did finish the 10K.

I had hoped that in my last run it should have been sub-one hour. But at least that’s only three minutes below target.

Sneaker Factor?

My pair of new sneakers by Nike, Lunarlon Forever 2, appeared to have affected my performance.  It’s a little cramped at the forefoot. I can feel my left foot heating up probably because of friction as my shoe has not expanded yet to fit my foot with use. The last 10K run is the third time I used it.

I saw a dark spot under my sole when I inspected it after the run (see below). It may have progressed into a blister had I run more kilometers. I didn’t experience this with my Adidas Soltech 2 where there’s an air vent under it; but that one soaks when I run on puddles or on grass on those rainy days.

inflamed skin
Skin inflammation due to friction or lack of air vent.

 After the 10K Run

I lacked mileage, according to the veteran runner when he approached me upon arriving at the finish line. That means I should run more, train more or increase my distance per session. I’m doing my running at only three days a week.

My runs do not really qualify as marathon because the official distance for a marathon is 26.2 miles or 16.17 miles. I have yet to run the half-marathon to get the feel of how a marathon is. So I set my eyes on the 21K run in September and aim to become a finisher.

I will add more points to my aerobics training program and see how it works. Fifty points a week is not enough to break a personal best.

© 2014 May 7 P. A. Regoniel

Cases Data Analysis Quantitative Research Statistics

Heart Rate Analysis: Example of t-test Using MS Excel Analysis ToolPak

This article discusses a heart rate t-test analysis using MS Excel Analysis ToolPak add-in. This is based on real data obtained in a personally applied aerobics training program.

Do you know that there is a powerful statistical software residing in the common spreadsheet software that you use everyday or most of the time? If you have installed Microsoft Excel in your computer, chances are, you have not activated a very useful add-in: the Data Analysis ToolPak.

See how MS Excel’s data analysis function was used in analyzing real data on the effect of aerobics on the author’s heart rate.

Statistical Analysis Function of MS Excel

Many students, and even teachers or professors, are not aware that there is a powerful statistical software at their disposal in their everyday interaction with Microsoft Excel. In order to make use of this nifty tool that the not-so-discerning fail to discover, you will need to install it as an Add-in to your existing MS Excel installation. Make sure you have placed your original MS Office DVD in your DVD drive when you do the next steps.

You can activate the Data Analysis ToolPak by following the procedure below (this could vary between versions of MS Excel; this one’s for MS Office 2007):

  1. Open MS Excel,
  2. Click on the Office Button (that round thing at the uppermost left of the spreadsheet),
  3. Look for the Excel Options menu at the bottom right of the box and click it,
  4. Choose Add-ins at the left menu,
  5. Click on the line Analysis ToolPak,
  6. Choose Excel Add-in in the Manage field below left, then hit Go, and
  7. Check the Analysis ToolPak box then click Ok.

You should now see the Data Analysis function at the extreme right of your Data menu in your spreadsheet. You are now ready to use it.

Using the Data Analysis ToolPak to Analyze Heart Rate Data

The aim of this statistical analysis is to test whether there’s really a significant difference in my heart rate eight months ago and last week. This is because in my earlier post titled How to Slow Down Your Heart Rate Through Aerobics, I mentioned that my heart rate is getting slower through time because of aerobics training. But I used the graphical method to plot a trend line. I did not test whether there is a significant difference in my heart rate or not, from the time I started measuring my heart rate compared to the last six weeks’ data.

Now, I would like to answer the question is: “Is there a significant difference in heart rate eight months ago and last six week’s record?”

Student’s t-test will be used to analyze 18 readings taken eight months ago and the last six weeks as data for comparison. I measured my heart rate upon waking up (that ensures I am rested) during each of my three-times a week aerobics sessions.

Why 18? According to Dr. Cooper, the training effect accorded by aerobics could be achieved within six weeks, so I thought my heart rate within six weeks should not change significantly. So that’s six weeks times three equals 18 readings.

Eight months would be a sufficient time to effect a change in my heart rate since I started aerobic running eight months ago. And the trend line in the graph I previously presented shows that my heart rate slows down through time.

These are the assumptions of this t-test analysis and the reason for choosing the sample size.

The Importance of an F-test

Before applying the t-test, the first test you should do to avoid a spurious or false conclusion is to test whether the two groups of data have a different variance. Does one group of data vary more than the other? If they do, then you should not use the t-test. Nonparametric methods such as Mann-Whitney U test should be used instead.

How do you make sure that this may not be the case, that is, that one group of data varies more than the other? The common test to use is an F-test. If no significant difference is detected, then you can go ahead with the t-test.

Here’s an output of the F-test using the Analysis ToolPak of MS Excel:

F test
F test Fig. 1. F-test analysis using the Analysis ToolPak.

Notice that the p-value for the test is 0.36 [from P(F<=f) one-tail]. This means that one group of data does not vary more than the other.

How do you know that the difference in variance in the two groups of data using the F-test analysis is not significant? Just look at the p-value of the data analysis output and see whether it is equal to or below 0.05. If it is 0.06 or higher, then the difference in variance is not significant and t-test could now be used.

This result signals me to go on with the t-test analysis. Notice that the mean heart rate during the last six weeks (i.e., 50.28) is lower than that obtained six months ago (i.e. 53.78). Is this really significant?

Result of the t-test

I had run a consistent 30-points per week last August and September 2013 but now I accumulate at least a 50-point week for the last six weeks. This means that I almost doubled my capacity to run. And I should have a significantly lower heart rate than before. In fact, I felt that I can run more than my usual 4 miles and I did run more than 6 miles once a week for the last six weeks.

Below is the output of the t-test analysis using the Analysis ToolPak of MS Excel:

t test
t test Fig. 2. t-test analysis using Analysis ToolPak.

The data shows that there is a significant difference between my heart rate eight months ago and the last three weeks. Why? That’s because the p-value is lower than 0.05 [i.e., P(T<=t) two-tail = 0.0073]. There’s a remote possibility that there is no difference in heart rate 8 months ago and the last six weeks.

I ignored the other p-value because it is one-tail. I just tested whether there is a significant difference or not. But because the p-value in one-tail is also significant, I can confidently say that indeed I have obtained sufficient evidence that aerobics training had slowed down my heart rate, from 54 to 50. Four beats in eight months? That’s amazing. I wonder what will be the lowest heart rate I could achieve with constant training.

This analysis is only true for my case as I used my set of data; but it is possible that the same results could be obtained for a greater number of people.

© 2014 April 28 P. A. Regoniel

Cases Health Quantitative Research Research

How to Slow Down Your Heart Rate Through Aerobics

Do you have a fast heart rate, i.e., more than 80 beats per minute? Chances are, you are either stressed or not getting enough exercise. Find out how aerobics can slow down your heart rate.

I have this nagging question in mind since I decided to undertake an aerobics program using Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s book on aerobics. This is about one’s heart rate getting slower when regularly exercising. Did my heart rate actually slow down because aerobics exercise has become an integral part of my weekly routine?

On page 101 of Dr. Cooper’s book aptly titled “aerobics,” he mentioned that the heart is such a magnificent engine that, when given less work, will work faster and less efficiently. When you make more demands on it through aerobics, it will become more efficient. That means that for a deconditioned man who does not exercise at all, his resting rate is about 80 or more while a conditioned man who exercises regularly, will have a resting heart rate of about 60 beats per minute or less. In 24 hours at rest, a deconditioned man’s heart will have to beat more than a conditioned man. He went on to explain things about the heart and how it becomes stronger and more efficient with training.

While browsing information along this topic, I found out that top athletes have heart rates of less than 30. Miguel Indurain, a top cyclist has a heart rate of 28.

Does Aerobics Slow Down Heart Rate?

I love to do a simple research to test this information although I am aware that there were already studies done to answer this question. I would like to answer the question using myself as the subject of the study and to see my progress. This is my case.

I will deliberately skip the review of literature and go directly to the objective of this experiment. My research question is:

Does aerobics slow down the heart rate through time?

My Method

I decided that I will use the graphical approach to find out if my heart rate indeed is slowing down through time. This is what researchers call a time series analysis. Will the heart rate trend be going down?

I recorded my heart rate each time I check my blood pressure upon waking up in the morning using an OMRON REM-1 wrist blood pressure monitor. So, I have added information that I will include in this article – my blood pressure.

I started recording the BP information and heart rate last August 8, 2013 up to this time. I do this routine before my 6 o’clock am run so it’s basically my resting heart rate after 6-8 hours of sleep. There were no significant changes in my lifestyle (i.e., no changes in diet, medication, workload, among other things) since I embarked on the aerobics program.

I plotted data gathered for eight months although I have done aerobics since January 2013. But then I failed to record heart rate or BP data until August 2013.


I found out interesting information after plotting the data in Excel. This is easily done by plotting the date and corresponding BP values and heart rate in one row. I clicked on the Insert menu then hit the Line graph and selected the cells for date, diastolic, systolic, and heart rate values.

Indeed, my heart rate decreased through time as indicated by the heart rate trend line. However, I noticed that the trend for blood pressure goes towards the opposite direction. Both the systolic and diastolic pressure follow an upward trend (Figure 1).

graph of the heart rate and blood pressure
Fig. 1. Graph of my blood pressure and heart rate from August 19, 2013 to April 19, 2014.

What does this result suggest? This may mean that as the heart grows stronger (low heart beat), the pressure it exerts on the blood vessels also increases. On the other hand, this suggests that my blood vessels become less elastic through time.

This finding requires further reading – a review of literature focused on the relationship between the heart rate of a healthy person and his blood pressure. Is this trend the same for all people who engaged in aerobics and experienced the training effect?

Training effect is the body’s adaptation to a training program manifested by improvement in functional capacity and strength. In my case, this simply means that I am able to run a 6 kilometer stretch of road without stopping to rest. When I started the aerobics program last January 2013, I can barely finish a mile and my legs ached.

Well, whatever the increasing blood pressure means, what is important is that I found out that aerobics does decrease the heart rate through time. On March 4, 2014, I recorded my lowest heart rate ever: 44.  And I confirmed this by manually counting my pulse in one minute. And I also discovered that I can lower it at will by breathing deeply.

Where does this training bring me? An athlete friend invited me to join a 10K run last February 23, 2014. He noticed that I jog regularly and assured me that I will be able to finish the distance. I explained that I have been jogging just to address a health issue and is not that confident to test my performance. On second thought, I said why not?

I realized I can make the distance and gained confidence that I could be a marathoner. In fact, I’ve already joined and finished two 10-kilometer runs clocking 1:05 and 1:00, respectively. And I aim to finish the upcoming 10K run next month in less than an hour. This was made possible through serious self-training and with determination.

Do you have high blood pressure? Or easily feel tired after a few exertions? Try aerobics and take control of your health.

Just a note of caution: before engaging in strenuous exercise, have a medical check up to rule out any heart problem.

© 2014 April 19 P. A. Regoniel


Research Findings Dispel Old Myths

How can research findings be put to practical use? Here’s an account of how research findings were used to improve one’s health condition through a systematic application of the principles of aerobics.

On February 23, 2014, I joined a 10-kilometer run of a local runners’ club to test whether I can keep up with the pack. I woke up early in the morning at about 4 o’clock to ready myself for the 5:15 AM run.

At age 51, once hypertensive and sedentary for at least four years because of the “lack of time” to exercise and too engrossed at work,  doctors 50 years ago would not recommend what I intend to do. It would be too risky at my age. That is what they say. Accordingly, as people reach middle age, medical doctors once recommend that they should take it easy. Strenuous exercise must be avoided as much as possible for fear of heart attack, stroke, bone injuries, among others.

But I was comforted by the fact that a groundbreaking approach to develop endurance in running or walking long distances was developed by Dr. Kenneth Cooper in his aerobics book in 1960. I happened to see the book in a book sale center as I browse for useful tips on health and self-development.

About the Aerobics Book

The aerobics book outlines how one can build up stamina and endurance in running by undertaking a 16-week aerobics program. The idea behind this book is to build running capacity gradually using a point system. As one progresses, he adds more points until a 30-point week is achieved.

I was able to reach the 30-point week with diligence at week 29 or in August of 2013. Now, I can achieve the 30-point week effortlessly. And the last record I had in my three workouts per week is 48 points. I can easily exceed the 30-point week requirement without feeling too tired to walk or feel anything uncomfortable with my joints. I have maintained the pace and increased my points — gradually.

The key in this approach to stamina building is — gradual. My arteries and veins increased in size gradually. Thus, my blood pressure normalized and even my heartbeat per minute went down. 

Slow Heart Rate?

Last March 4, my heart rate was only 44 when I checked it early in the morning before my workout. Is this abnormal?  How slow can a heartbeat get?

My doctor was a bit alarmed during my last medical check up because he said, the military SWAG (similar to the US SEAL team) he checked have heartbeats averaging 60 per minute. There may be something wrong with my wrist blood pressure monitor or I have bradycardia or slow heart beat which is linked to problems with the electrical system of the heart. So I told him about my workout and he nodded in agreement that I am okay.

Mayo clinic says a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. However, a slower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness which is true for well-trained athletes who usually approach 40 beats a minute.

This means that it takes much less effort to pump the blood all throughout one’s circulatory system as the heart is strong. That’s how Dr. Cooper explained it. 

Performance in the 10K Run

How did I perform in the 10-kilometer run which I ran for the first time? Well, I finished 12th, that is, from the last runner who finished the fun run.  🙂  I did it in one hour and three minutes and got a certificate as a finisher of the 10K run.

10 kilometer run

I mentioned my accomplishment to a colleague who runs regularly. He said, my performance was good because normally, runners are expected to finish the 10K run in one hour and 15 minutes. In fact, I bested 11 other runners I saw still running towards the finish line on my way home. And not only that, I learned later from a runner friend that there were still other runners who decided not to finish the run; either because they were not able to keep up with the top ten runners or they can no longer make it. It gave me somehow a sense of pride for my accomplishment. What a pleasant surprise.

Dispelling Old Myths

How was this accomplishment made possible? A systematic approach was applied by a doctor of medicine and a former Air Force Colonel to dispel old myths that “when you get older, you need to take it easy.” That’s not true. Just like a machine, the body should be worked out regularly. If not, the rust will take over or the parts deteriorate prematurely such that it will not work efficiently anymore.

Dr. Cooper did research and applied his findings. Now, he is in the forefront of preventive medicine. We enjoy the fruits of his labor and gain more control of our health.

Ah well, I am joining the 10K run again tomorrow to see if I will be able to do it better.

© 2014 April 4 P. A. Regoniel

Cases Research

How Slow Can a Heartbeat Get?

Is it possible to have such a slow heart beat than what is usually accepted as the norm? A literature search combined with personal observation can be empowering tools to educate oneself. Indeed, heart rate deviants, called outliers in statistics, exist.

It really pays to educate yourself to keep yourself abreast with what has been discovered so far and help you make decisions. Knowledge is something that we need not only learn in school but by self-study and passionate interest in discovering more than what is made available to you.

I mention these things as I recall the conversations I have had with my doctor when I consulted him the other day. I noticed I had a very low blood pressure and a slow heartbeat at that. As of the latest monitoring using an electronic wrist blood pressure monitor by Omron, my BP went down to just 116/60 at night before retiring to sleep. It seems normal, but my heartbeat was only 47!

I’m a bit disturbed because my doctor noted the other day that normal heartbeats should be 60 or higher; but, according to him, these are the heartbeats of the Marines. Is it possible that I could have such a very slow heartbeat? Should this be a cause for worry?


The doctor’s comments became a concern at the outset. But then, I remembered that Dr. Cooper, a medical doctor who pioneered the aerobics point system, wrote in his book that athletes could have slower than normal heart beats. I flipped to page 103 of his aerobics book, and read that he did note that conditioned athletes can have a resting rate of 32 beats per minute. Further, he checked a marathoner who is in his 60s and recorded a heart rate of 36.[1]  I browsed the internet and learned that Michael Indurain, a five-time winner of Tour de France, had a resting rate of 28 beats per minute. Furthermore, Guinness World Record holder Michael Brady had a heart rate of 27 (!).

I am no athlete of these caliber, but knowing these facts and having my record to consult allayed fears of possible abnormality in my condition. It may be a welcome development as I regularly exercise every other day to keep in shape; running a 4 mile distance in 44 minutes or less. If I would translate that to Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s point system, that’s equal to 11 points. And I need to meet at least 30 points per week. I run three times a week, so that’s a total of 33 points per week.

Doing this exercise routine consistently for 36 weeks, my achievement is at par with my earlier running performance way back in the early 1990s. My previous notes, written 20 years ago, indicated that I did have a very low heartbeat on record. My heartbeat on October 20, 1993 was 48 beats per minute. And I did not use an electronic means but counted it using a regular watch and feeling my pulse. So there’s nothing queer about my heart rate at all.

So this is the conclusion of this account on heart rate: that equipping yourself with information from both literature and observation can help you adopt a better view of things. Don’t rely on just a single source of information. Knowledge through a little research and own self-observation recorded on paper can be empowering.

Ones heartbeat can be slower than the expected standard. And…, I have a personal experience to back it up; because I appeared to be one of the deviants, a seeming outlier. Am I a super athlete undiscovered? 🙂

1. Cooper, K. H. (1968). Aerobics. New York: Bantam Books, Inc.

© 2013 October 4 P. A. Regoniel

Health Research

How Research Translates Into Health Guidelines

The US Government recommendations for better health arise from research findings. A systematic review of literature helps form guidelines on diet and exercise that the public can adopt for better health. Learn the recommendations.

I just finished a free online course titled Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health offered through by the University of Pittsburgh. It was a six-week course with two modules to finish each week.

Although I was a bit behind by a week, I tried to keep up with the reading assignments and quizzes to complete the 11-module course. An optional forum is provided to give feedback on the course or interact on posts written by fellow students or courserians who come from various parts of the world. I learned there were 70,000 of us who joined since the online course’s commencement on July 15, 2013.

What I really appreciate about this course is its science-based approach to health. For every recommended physical activity or diet, there is a corresponding research to back it up. A comprehensive review of research literature point out findings that support diet or physical exercise recommendations.

Here is a summary of what I have learned from the course.

Diet and exercise approach for better health

If you intend to manage your weight and reduce the risk of getting chronic, diet-related diseases like cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, stroke, and diabetes, then the best approach should be to implement both a diet and exercise program. Much will be gained from having a balanced diet and more could be achieved if this is coupled with regular exercise.

What is the recommended diet?


To maximize the benefits of diet, it is important that you should be able to track down your energy or food intakes each day. You should list down how much and what kinds of food you ate. This requires counting the calories derived from food. This simple daily record will give you an insight on the kind and amount of food in terms of calories that will help you manage your diet.

All of the food consumed do not get burned for energy. The body will use up only a specific amount of calories to carry on the daily activities. The rest gets either excreted as waste or stored as fat. You should be concerned about overeating because if you take more than enough, the excess gives that added weight unless you do something to get rid of it. It is here that exercise plays a role.

There are a specific amount of calories needed for maintenance of body weight for the different food groups namely carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The same goes for optimal quantities of vitamins and minerals to help absorb and regulate food in the body.

The whole point is that you should first understand your diet through consistent monitoring and from there design a diet that will give you just enough amount and kind of food required for weight maintenance. This means more of fibrous food and less of trans and saturated fats which are obtained easily from food.

What is the recommended amount of exercise?

The recommended amount of exercise to maintain weight is at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate exercise per week. Ideally, this should be spread at a minimum of three times a week or better still, four to five times a week. This means at least 50 minutes of exercise if you opt for a three times a week exercise program or 30 minutes per session if you decide to exercise five times a week.

According to studies, more exercise is better. For best results, 250 minutes of moderate exercise per week is recommended. My exercise program is just okay as I do 41 to 44 minutes of vigorous exercise, that is, running a six kilometer distance three times a week. I just need to adjust my calorie intakes because my weight is between obese and normal based on a body mass index (BMI) of 25.9.

If you want to learn more about the health benefits of exercise, download the 2008 Physical Guidelines for Americans.

To measure the amount of calorie intake based on your food as well as your progress in your physical activity, use SuperTracker, a free online tool to track an individual’s diet and physical activity.

© 2013 September 2 P. A. Regoniel