Doctors Lounge - Cardiology Answers

"The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician."

Back to Cardiology Answers List

Forum Name: Cardiology Diagnostics

Question: Exercising over max heart rate?

 jasonb - Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:46 pm

I am an avid cyclist and runner(age 32), in good health and recently had an echocardiogram to verify my heart health. The results were good, with only a very slight, initial sign of "possible diastolic dysfunction".
According to the 220-age formula, my max heart rate should be 188, but during an all out 5k recently, I pushed it hard competing and was over my max(around 195 on my heart monitor) for a good 8-9 minutes. Using the "perceived exertion" method, I felt I was at a 9-10 on a 1-10 scale.
My question for you is: Is this safe to do if I am in good health, or am I damaging my heart? Some say using a perceived exertion method is better, but I want to get an expert opinion on this.
Thank you for your time!
 Dr. A. Madia - Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:38 am

User avatar Hi,

There are two types of exercise. Aerobic and Anaerobic. The former depends on the consumption of high amounts of oxygen and is the exercise which involves prolonged sustaind mid level activity like running, walking, swimming, cycling.

Anaerobic exercise is typically short but intense bouts of activity like weight lifting. This is also called Isometric exercise. This exercise causes different kind of muscle development, which is massive and long lasting.

When one exercises upto heart rate of 85% of 220-age, it is Aerobic. After this the metabolism turns to lactate and the exercise becomes anaerobic. There is usually nothing wrong with doing anrearobics, provided you do not have a heart disease.

The instance you have been talking about is called 'Fartlek'. This involes a prolonged sustained bout of exercise at aerobic level interspersed with short bout of intense exercise at anerobic level.


| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us