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  1. #1
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    Cycling and Cardiovascular Health: Blood Pressure, Pulse Rate as Indicators?

    So, I have come to the conclusion that I am different than most people when it comes to blood pressure and pulse. Then again, I've been doing cardio exercise for over 10 years. My resting pulse is 38 right now typing this, but my blood pressure is 140/60. The problem is that no medical people that I know have an answer for me when I ask if my blood pressure is going to cause a problem. 29 years old. I've given up asking docs and nurses and searching the internet. What do you guys think?

    There isn't a health forum on here, or I'd ask there.

  2. #2
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    my numbers aren't too far off of yours. 46 resting, 134/83 blood pressure, 36 years old. I am on blood pressure meds. I am pretty fit and exercise quite a bit, but my Dr felt that I needed to keep it from going higher in high stress times. He likes to see me at 110/70. I have been on the meds for 7 years.

  3. #3
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    Very much like Jack's post. I'm 48, have a very low resting pulse, and similar blood pressure. High blood pressure runs in the family. I exercise a lot, watch mostly what I eat, but can't get my blood pressure any lower on my own. Doctors have had me on meds for about 10 years now. EKG confirmed I should be on meds. I can only inagine what my blood pressure would be without all of the exercising.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandSpeed
    So, I have come to the conclusion that I am different than most people when it comes to blood pressure and pulse. Then again, I've been doing cardio exercise for over 10 years. My resting pulse is 38 right now typing this, but my blood pressure is 140/60. The problem is that no medical people that I know have an answer for me when I ask if my blood pressure is going to cause a problem. 29 years old. I've given up asking docs and nurses and searching the internet. What do you guys think?

    There isn't a health forum on here, or I'd ask there.

    Blood pressure tends to vary with pulse rate....

    Try some experiments.....test your BP just after exercising when your pulse is much higher.....

    If the BP is always above 130 you got the problem.

  5. #5
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    My blood pressure dropped from about 125/85 to 111/69 after doing a low carb diet for 6 weeks. I only eat carbs about an hour before a ride, during the ride, and an hour after a ride. There is some research that indicates that it's fructose that causes high blood pressure, watch 'sugar, the bitter truth'. I'm not sure, but something about a low carb diet definitely lowers it. Also, the whole thing about reducing sodium to lower blood pressure was based on a very faulty study, and it actually doesn't work that way.

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    I've been going through a similar situation over the last 2 months. 37 years old and always been fit (race Uni cross country and raced road and mountain x 10 years). Resting heart rate of 45 but 2 months ago had a high BP reading (140/80) at my annual physical which totally stressed me out. family history but no other risk factors. Presently seeeing Cardiologist and getting tests to evaluate. Coming to terms with things and back to training. The thing that seems to affectmy pressure the most is anxiety and stress so I'm trying to work on these things. A 24 hour blood pressure cuff will determine your average AM and PM pressures and help with diagnosing essential hypertension. Good luck.

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  7. #7
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    Yea, basically asking a normal Family practice doctor or a nurse is going to be useless for you. You need to see a Cardiologist, most likely an EP specialist to really see if you've got something going on.

    While others on the internet might have anecdotal evidence and experiences close to yours..... you really have to see someone who knows what they are talking about if you are concerned.

  8. #8
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    I'm wondering is it possible for cyclists to have a higher systolic and normal diastolic reading? For instance, my BP reading this morning was 130/80. Prior to starting cycling 3 months ago, I was running for a couple months and would get readings ~120/80.

    I've been cycling regularly for about 3 months now and have noticed my systolic rise to 125-130. Is it possible since I am mainly working my legs the arteries\veins in my legs are getting larger as compared to the arteries\veins in my upper body and arms? So when I take my bp on my arm, the systolic reading is higher? Any ideas?
    Enjoy the ride!

  9. #9
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    I just started norvasc (calcium channel blocker) 3 weeks ago to help regulate my BP, and feel like I can no longer raise my heart rate or have the energy to ride much. I have been pretty steady with my base miles so I took a week off, but I do not feel better now going into 3 weeks. Those of you that are on meds, could you share what you are using and if you have suffered any side affects?

  10. #10
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    Please Google anything that I say as I am working from memory on searches done many years ago. I am not a Cardiologist.

    Its Not unusual to see a higher Systolic blood pressure in endurance trained individuals. Dyastolic BP is a much stronger risk factor or cardiovascular disease and you have a low value there. I had a BP very similar to yours for years when I was racing in my early 20's. 135/60 was a pretty average reading with a resting HR in the 50's. I had more then one nurse/doc comment that I had one of the strongest clearest heart beats they had ever heard.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixy View Post
    I just started norvasc (calcium channel blocker) 3 weeks ago to help regulate my BP, and feel like I can no longer raise my heart rate or have the energy to ride much. I have been pretty steady with my base miles so I took a week off, but I do not feel better now going into 3 weeks. Those of you that are on meds, could you share what you are using and if you have suffered any side affects?
    Fatigue is a side effect of many of the BP meds. I've been on metoprolol (beta blocker) for a couple years now and the first season after I was slow. The season after though, I was faster than I was before I started taking it, but at a lower heart rate. The calcium channel blockers work in a different way than a beta blocker though. If you're not on it for a heart rhythm issue you could ask to be switched to an ace inhibitor.

    (disclaimer... info was relayed from my wife who is a cardiac nurse, if there are inaccuracies it's probably due to me relaying it incorrectly)

    bottom line... talk to your doc and see if there's something else that you can take.

  12. #12
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    I was on Lisinopril and stopped taking it a couple of weeks ago. It was giving me anxiety, insomnia, and pain in my shoulder blade area. Two days after stopping it I felt great. Need to go back to the doctor and discuss my options.

  13. #13
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    So it seems drug tolerances are very personal in each case.

    Just for the record, my doctor told me to stop the norvasc if I felt too tired to train. Within in 2-3 days off the meds my energy came back and I came to realize that it was depressing me as well. Today on the 4th day off, I raced ST and felt good with good stats, and my BP is down as well.

    I guess I need to go back to the DR in a week and see where to go next.

  14. #14
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    For those of you that are having high blood pressure issues, what are your diets like?

    Have you looked at the DASH diet? Get rid of sodium and sugar.

    One year ago, a doctor didn't want me to leave the office without blood pressure medication. I refused, wanting to try fixing it on my own. I started exercising again, started looking at what I was eating more, lost fifty pounds, and haven't had a blood pressure problem since. I just checked it and it was a higher than normal reading for me lately, it was at 111.

  15. #15
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    Cycling and Cardiovascular Health: Blood Pressure, Pulse Rate as Indicators?

    What sites do you recommend for dash?


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  16. #16
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    The DASH diet's eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts and legumes, and low-fat dairy. These foods are high in key nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein.

    Unlike the "typical American" diet, the DASH diet has less sodium (salt), sugar, desserts, sweetened beverages, fats, and red and processed meats.

    To start the DASH diet, follow these food groups and serving amounts (based on 2,000-calories a day):

    Grains: 7-8 daily servings (serving sizes: 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup cooked rice/pasta, 1 ounce dry cereal)
    Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings (serving sizes: 1 cup raw leafy greens, 1/2 cup cooked vegetable)
    Fruits: 4-5 daily servings (serving sizes: 1 medium fruit, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, 6 ounces fruit juice)
    Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings (serving sizes: 8 ounces milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1.5 ounces cheese)
    Lean meat, poultry, and fish: 2 or fewer servings a day (serving sizes: 3 ounces cooked meat, poultry, or fish)
    Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4-5 servings per week (serving sizes: 1/3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoon seeds, 1/2 cup cooked dry beans or peas)
    Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings (serving sizes: 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or soft margarine, 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons light salad dressing)
    Sweets: try to limit to less than 5 servings per week. (serving sizes: 1 tablespoon sugar or jelly/jam)
    Aim to cut back to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon of table salt). Once your body adjusts to the lower-sodium diet, you can lower your salt intake even further to 1,500 milligrams per day (about 2/3 teaspoon table salt).

  17. #17
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    It's an eye opener to check some of the packaging of the items we normally buy. I was picking up some canned kidney beans a couple weeks ago. One brand had about 60 gr. of sodium, one had 120 gr. of sodium, a third can had 320 gr. of sodium. It isn't much of a diet change to buy the one with 80% less sodium. I think it was the Organics brand that had the most sodium. The name sounded healthy.

  18. #18
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    Cycling and Cardiovascular Health: Blood Pressure, Pulse Rate as Indicators?

    Thanks alpha.

    That for the most part is what I have been doing for the past 6 weeks. Been drinking green smoothies once to twice a day and eating sensibly and staying away from the bad stuff. I have lost 10lbs and have 15 to go. Been off my blood pressure meds for a couple of weeks now. Blood pressure was around 160/90 when they put me in meds. Took it today and it was 130/79. Gonna keep an eye on it and continue watching my diet.

    Medication can have horrible side effects. Even the ones they say are mild like lisinopril as I have learned.


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  19. #19
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    Cycling and Cardiovascular Health: Blood Pressure, Pulse Rate as Indicators?

    Still drinking green smoothies daily and watching my diet. Down from 230 to 209.

    My blood pressure went from 160/90 to 126/73 and I am off all meds.


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  20. #20
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    Way to go BoomerBrian that just goes to show you how much doctors rely on meds and don't look at or prescribe lifestyle changes which have a much better and longer lasting effects. Oh ya and don't forget about all the good side effects you get from lifestyle changes.

    As for the OP I would defiantly listen to some other posters and check with a cardiologist and possibly find one that deals with athletes.
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  21. #21
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    Interesting thread. My resting hr is about 40, with a bp of 140+/80. I've been on blood pressure meds for about a year to keep it down. I had a 24hr bp monitor last year, and when I was riding it spiked to 210+. The graph was kind of crazy.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoomerBrian View Post
    Still drinking green smoothies daily and watching my diet. Down from 230 to 209.

    My blood pressure went from 160/90 to 126/73 and I am off all meds.


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    Always great to hear BoomerBrian. I think a large percentage of high BP could be lowered with life style change, but not everyone is motivated to do so. Many people think a pill is easier or better.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCMTB View Post
    I'm wondering is it possible for cyclists to have a higher systolic and normal diastolic reading? For instance, my BP reading this morning was 130/80. Prior to starting cycling 3 months ago, I was running for a couple months and would get readings ~120/80.

    I've been cycling regularly for about 3 months now and have noticed my systolic rise to 125-130. Is it possible since I am mainly working my legs the arteries\veins in my legs are getting larger as compared to the arteries\veins in my upper body and arms? So when I take my bp on my arm, the systolic reading is higher? Any ideas?
    Since my last post, my blood pressure is now reading in the 120/75 range and my systolic goes into the teens some days. I think it has been a combination of diet (mostly paleo) and exercise. I think my higher systolic was from overtraining and not resting enough after hard days.
    Enjoy the ride!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoomerBrian View Post
    Still drinking green smoothies daily and watching my diet. Down from 230 to 209.

    My blood pressure went from 160/90 to 126/73 and I am off all meds.


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    Isn't it amazing, just from eating healthier I saw a big difference in blood pressure. For you it looks like diet and weight reduction have definitely worked for you. I think there is definitely a correlation between having high bp and high sugar levels in the body. I truly believe the food pyramid in the 80's/90's is what is causing this huge rise in diabetes in the US now. I mostly follow a paleo diet with the exception of oatmeal for breakfast and some ice cream here and there on the weekends.
    Enjoy the ride!

  25. #25
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    There seem to be quite a few different reasons that people have high BP. As a healthy eating, 120 lb, 55 yr old athlete I assume that my high BP spikes are caused by some combination of heredity and stress. I never feel like I am stressed but there must be something in my chemical make up that affects me inside like stress.

    I have done quite extensive testing at different times of day, and it appears that it goes down right after exercise and when I sleep. I only mention this because if exercise causes your BP to go up, you should probably seek the advice of a doctor right away.

    In my case, my doctor has allowed me to stay off the meds and monitor every few days. If it trends up, I need to go back and try an alternate vasodilator that does not make me tired. So far I have been within range.

  26. #26
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    Hmmm,

    I was just in the dentist's office and my BP was 138/68 with a resting HR of 44.

    I'm 37, 210 and reasonbly heathy. I ride 3-5 days a week now but definitely not in any kind of race shape. Very rarely use any salt but I'm not terribly careful about what I eat.

  27. #27
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    Re: Cycling and Cardiovascular Health: Blood Pressure, Pulse Rate as Indicators?

    Salt is not a problem. Sugar and carbs is. Paleo seems to be the way to go.


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smudge13 View Post
    I'm 37, 210 and reasonbly heathy... but I'm not terribly careful about what I eat.
    I'm not sure that 210 pounds would be considered "reasonbly healthy" or reasonably healthy. Are you 6'8"?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    I'm not sure that 210 pounds would be considered "reasonbly healthy" or reasonably healthy. Are you 6'8"?
    Oh, sorry I didn't realize this was the criticism forum. I've been in the Navy for 19 years, pass my annual med work up with flying colors, all blood work well within the normal range, and kick the crap out of the 20 yr olds who work for me during our semi-annual physical fitness exams, so yes I think between the check ups and exercise I would say that I'm "reasonably" heathy. (My most humble apology for the misspelling which was obviously so greviously offensive to you...)

    I am by no means in perfect health but I'm certainly no couch potato. Now I will humbly step aside for Mr. Atlas here. Please, carry on without me.

  30. #30
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    Smudge13, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. A little over a year ago I had my doctor, who is an avid cyclist, tell me I should lose some weight and it bugged me too. I have lost about 60 pounds though. I'm 6'1" and I was over 235. I didn't feel fat and I've always considered myself to be healthy, but I wasn't. Those 60 pounds were fat and that's a long ways from setting the mile time in high school.

    You and I have enough years to know that beating 20 year old guys is generally easy and often isn't even a challenge. Some of the toughest guys are over 60. I was in a fat bike race recently where the guy who won was 60. Now, he happens to be in the cycling hall of fame and the mountain biking hall of fame, but still, he is 60 and smoked everyone. There were two courses and most of the younger guys did the short course.

    I joined a group ride while visiting in Phoenix last summer. There were over sixty riders and was the biggest group ride I've ever been on. I found out after the ride that the guy pushing at the very front of all those riders was a 60 year old guy who was recovering from a major illness.

    20 year old guys are mostly wimps. As for passing the military medical exams, I have a brother who did so for 24 years and he is grossly overweight.

    I'm in no means wanting to criticize you. My blood pressure was well above yours a year ago. The doctor wanted me in the hospital.

    All I'm saying is that through a diet change, more exercise, and substantial weight loss of extra fat, my blood pressure is generally now just over 100. You haven't mentioned your height, but I am assuming that 210 pounds includes some fat. It's not mean't to be mean or critical. Just a thought.

  31. #31
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    I just got home from a group ride that had probably left 5 minutes ahead of me. By mile 8, I was passing the lead group of riders. All of that just to say that I rode moderately hard. My blood pressure right now after the ride is 104/65. What a change from a year ago when I was being told I needed to be on medication.
    My Medication:
    Lost 60 pounds (235 to 175)
    Eating healthier (cutting out excess sugar and salt)
    Regular exercise

  32. #32
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    good thread.

    I recently noticed my BP was high as well and am currently monitoring it, as well as adjusting my diet.

    Dr doesn't think I need meds at this point, but I check it once a week and have a follow up appointment scheduled for 6 months.

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