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Elevated heart rate after vacation

I didn't ride my bike at all during my recent vacation, so I had 8 days of almost no exercise. Now I've been back in the swing of things for several days, and I have an elevated heart rate. It seems to be 8-10 beats higher than normal, all the time. So I wake up with a mid-high fifties instead of a low forties, and when I'm riding at a regular pace, I have 170 instead of 160, and reasonable hills take me up to 185 instead of 175. What is strange is that normally I'd be breathing really hard at 185, but now I'm just starting to notice my breating.

I've never noticed anything like this before after a short break, so I'm keeping an eye on things. I hope everything will return to normal within a week or so. I'm slightly tempted to sprint up a really steep hill and see if my maximum has gone up 10 beats too, but it might not be advisable for medical reasons.

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I occasionally get the same problem, although since I haven't had more than a few days off in the past year, I don't think it's that. I wonder if it's caused by a virus. Not a virus that knocks you out, but something minor which causes elevated heart rate, but not corresponding elevated breathing rates ?

Interestingly, I've also had the opposite happen - elevated breathing with lower heart rate. Now, that is very confusing, since heart rate is dependent on oxygen absorbtion rate and breathing rate is dependent (largely) on the amount of CO2 in your lungs. So it would kind of imply that the rate at which oxygen is absorbed is improved. I find this more difficult to deal with because my (fast) running pace tends to depend on how fast I can breath in and out. Mind you, your symptoms are a little more worrying because of the potential issue of over-stressing the heart.

Anyway, enough of my wibbling, I would think it should clear up in a few days if my experience is anything to go by.

Posted by Trevor Watson on July 27, 2005 at 08:08 PM PDT #

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