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159619 tn?1538184537


I'm a 52 year old male and I work out daily. My work outs have been focused on heart rate, I try to stay around 80-85% of my max heart rate (130-140) for 30-60 mins daily. I do this alternating day to day on a treadmill and a recumbent bike for the sake of my knees. From my reading, that is a good exercise routine for cardiac health. Plus, at this rate I can normally make my PVC's go away when they're acting up which is a real benefit.

Lately, I've been reading more about using mets as a target, somewhere around 10 - 11 mets. For me that pushes my heart rate up to 90-95% of my max which I feel is not really necessary. I can push my mets up to 10 or 11, just to know I can but I certainly wouldn't want to that for an entire work out. I don't really know if it's measure at peak or if it's cumulative. I can reach 100% with out any issues as well, but it's too hard on my "rebuilt" knees.

My goal is to drop another 50 pounds (lost 70 so far) and to exercise at a level which has the most cardiac benefit. I have a normal heart rate and BP response with my current routine, I know exactly what my heart rate will be at any given setting which makes it easy.

What is you opinion on what my goals should be? Is either one any better or is it just good enough that I get exercise daily? Does this level of exercise equate to what is considered good exercise tolerance?

About me, normal BP (110-70), controlled cholesterol ( LDL 77 HDL 43), never smoked or drank, no family history of early onset CAD.



9 Responses
1551954 tn?1294273911
Usually we look at both maximal predicted heart rate (goal 85%) and the number of METs you can do on exercise.  Usually greater than 8 METS is good (5-7 adequate) and 10-11 would be excellent.  The issue is that, if you are deconditioned or not in good shape your heart rate will jump up very quickly with little exercise and then you would say, oh I have reached goal heart rate but you really haven't exercise very many METS.  Whereas, if it takes your heart rate longer to get up to 85% and you exercise 8-9 METS that is great and you are getting into better shape!!!  Does that make sense?

Your BP and cholesterol are excellent and I would continue to recommend the weight loss.  Good job!! Keep up the exercise.  
159619 tn?1538184537
That makes perfect sense and answers another question that has always nagged at me. I have become much better conditioned, even with the extra weight still, than when I took  my last stress test. I have often thought that when I take another one some day if necessary, using the standard protocol it will take much longer to reach 85% of my max as the progression would take approx 12 - 15 mins to get to a setting that will have me close to my current expectations, and even then I may need a little longer. I need to be at about 3 steps of incline @ 4 MPH minimum to get there. Last time I took a stress test it only took me 6 mins so I often wondered how that would be interpreted. You have cleared that up, thanks.

One last question if possible, my heart rate usually drops around 15 BPM  in the first minute from peak, is that adequate as well?

thanks so much for the time and service you provide, you all are such a big help.

159619 tn?1538184537
One more question, are you saying that a person who can work out at 8 mets (or more), which is considered good, without any symptoms is not very likely to have any issues with oxygen starvation of the heart muscle or cardiomyopathies?


1551954 tn?1294273911

This might be helpful for you regarding heart rate recovery.  If you only dropped 12 beats in the first minute post-exercise, that would be considered abnormal heart rate recovery.  However, you drop 15 beats which is good!!

In regards to your 2nd question, no, I am not exactly saying that.  I would just be able to assume that if you can get to 85% of your maximal predicted heart rate and at the same time exercise at least 8 METS, you have a good functional capacity and are able to do an good amount of exercise without any symptoms.  Can I say by this that you aren't having any starvation of the heart muscle or cardiomyopathies, no!! People who have underlying ischemia or heart failure amazingly can sometimes still do this amount of work and don't get symptomst until 11-12 METs.  It really depends on the individuals and we look at other things including your ECG (electrocardiogram) to look for any abnormalities with stress and sometimes we have the benefit of looking at imaging in addition which is helpful also.  

1124887 tn?1313758491
Just a comment:

I think you're doing a great job!

I'm trying to improve my condition too. I had a stress test done about a year ago. I was so afraid of PACs that I didn't even take a short walk. I achieved 8 METs at that time. I tested myself last sunday. I achieve 14 METs now. My goal is 16 METs before summer.

To improve this much (I've only done heavy exercise for a couple of months, before that, I just took a 60 minute walk now and then) I don't push above 10 METs except for 2-3 minutes now and then. My perfect exercise is about 8 METs (threadmill 4 mph with 8-9 degrees incline, and 5-6 mph jog) for 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of weightlifting. It really works!

Good luck, it's great that you take care of your health! :)
159619 tn?1538184537
Thanks for your support. I wish I could still run, but I have one rebuilt and one soon to be replaced knee so running is out of the question. For me, I need to do 4 MPH at 7 degrees to hit 8 mets or do 140 watts on the recumbent bike. I know you younger guys take a little more work to get that high, I guess that's one benefit of getting old. I push to 10 mets usually once or twice a week for a couple minutes, I just don't want to exceed my max heart rate so I try to keep it under 95% when I push. For me, that's about 160 BPM which is common for me when I'm on my mountain bike in the Summer.

Sometimes I wonder at what point are you over doing it. I do this every day and looking at my tracker I haven't missed in a couple of months. I think at some point you need to give your body a day off, just have a hard time not working out, it's a catch 22 sometimes.
Avatar universal

what's a MET?
1124887 tn?1313758491
MET = Metabolic equivalent.

The body's normal demand/uptake of oxygen at rest; 3,5 ml/kg/minute.

If you go for a walk, you are usually working at 3-5 METs. In other words, you spend 3-5 times as many calories as when you rest. If you walk up hills, it can increase to 4-8 METs I think. Jogging is usually 7,5 METs+ and running is usually 10 METs+ depending on the speed.

Not 100% sure, it's what my threadmill says. Maybe the MD here on the forum can give you a better answer.

967168 tn?1477588089
here's a list from the American Heart Association, not sure if it's different in other countries =)

METs - http://www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart/1176406256764PA_Intensity_table_2_1.pdf
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