1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
Dr. Kerr, I presume?
Clark Ellis brings us a rare interview with British researcher Dr. Jonathan Kerr who is now living in Colombia.
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Heart Rate Monitor

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by concepcion, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. concepcion

    concepcion

    Messages:
    44
    Likes:
    28
    My daughter is trying to refine her pacing and came across an article which referred to heart rate monitoring. The principle is that keeping the HR below maximum anaerobic threshold ((220 - your age) x .6) can prevent drawing on energy reserves and therefore help prevent post-exertional malaise (see Bruce Campbell's article - "Pacing by Numbers")

    Has anyone used an accurate HR monitor? In particular one with an alarm which indicates you've gone over your set maximum.
  2. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,295
    Likes:
    6,282
    USA
    Yep, for years. What do you want to know?
  3. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

    Messages:
    6,887
    Likes:
    5,733
    Albuquerque

    Yes, many of us use heart rate monitors. If you do a search using google site search (on the forum menu), you will find other threads discussing this.

    Generally chest strap monitors are more accurate and look for one that allows you to change the batteries yourself for both the watch and the chest strap.

    Best wishes,
    Sushi

    PS Here is one thread: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/pacing-with-a-heart-rate-monitor.7426/
    Little Bluestem and SOC like this.
  4. concepcion

    concepcion

    Messages:
    44
    Likes:
    28

    Thanks Sushi. I actually did do a search before posting and was surprised not to find anything. Must've done something wrong.
  5. concepcion

    concepcion

    Messages:
    44
    Likes:
    28

    Hi SOC. I wanted to get an idea of good brands, preferably with an alarm. Possibly with another accurate feature, such as a step counter.

    Also, did any of you find it has helped your pacing? And has this very refined level of pacing paid off?
  6. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

    Messages:
    6,887
    Likes:
    5,733
    Albuquerque

    You probably used the search function at the top of the page--it is not very good. Google site search will give you several threads on HR monitors.

    Sushi
  7. concepcion

    concepcion

    Messages:
    44
    Likes:
    28
  8. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,295
    Likes:
    6,282
    USA
    I had really good luck with the Omron HR-100, although the specific model I had is obsolete now, I think. It has high and low alarms and a chest strap with batteries I can change myself. I hated both the Polar brand HR monitors I had.

    HR monitoring made a really big difference for me. Before the monitor I thought I was taking it very easy and pacing well. The monitor showed me I was still doing far, far too much. With the HR monitor, I trained myself to decrease my energy consumption to the point where I felt a lot better (although I was very much more limited physically).

    I'd say HR monitoring is well worth the effort in terms of reduction in some symptoms and stopping the downward slide. However, it only works if you have the self-discipline to stay within your limits even when you want very badly to do more.

    I did not find that a step counter was any help at all. If anything, I found it a problem because the temptation to increase my step count was very strong and I needed to decrease my activity, not increase it. It was much too discouraging to see my step count decrease as I reduced activity to stay within my HR limits.
    Little Bluestem and Valentijn like this.
  9. concepcion

    concepcion

    Messages:
    44
    Likes:
    28
    Thanks so much SOC. Very helpful.
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

    Messages:
    6,290
    Likes:
    8,994
    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    If your daughter isn't particularly active (such as if she's mostly housebound) a typical heart rate monitor can be difficult to use on a consistent basis. It requires sweat or a gel between the contacts and skin, which is fine if you're running around for a bit and sweating, but problematic if not moving much. I also found the chest straps to be pretty uncomfortable, since I hate constrictive clothing and such.

    If not moving around much, a finger pulse oximeter is a lot easier to use.
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  11. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

    Messages:
    7,221
    Likes:
    4,524
    australia (brisbane)
    Also down load them onto your phone, good when u dont have access to the more fancy ones etc when your out and havent put the proper monitors on?
    With my phone i put my finger over the camera lense and get a pulse rate reading within 30 secs.
  12. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

    Messages:
    6,887
    Likes:
    5,733
    Albuquerque

    I don't sweat much so just wet my fingers and run them over the sensor part of the chest strap. This seems to last for many hours.

    Sushi
    Little Bluestem and concepcion like this.
  13. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,295
    Likes:
    6,282
    USA

    My last Omron HR monitor did fine without the gel, which is wonderful. I found it helps to keep fresh batteries in it. The older the batteries, the more often I lost signal.

    The chest strap can indeed be uncomfortable. I found the ones with the most cloth, least plastic to be the best.

    These days, now that I'm doing better and have a fairly consistent lifestyle, I don't wear the HR monitor all the time. I've trained myself to know where my limits are (and it took years) so I don't go over my AT routinely. Currently I use the fingertip pulse oximeter if I'm doing a little more housework, for example, or doing the same stuff when I'm a little tired. It helps me keep an eye on myself. I still use the HR monitor if I'm doing something completely new and don't know how my body is going to cope.
  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

    Messages:
    2,538
    Likes:
    1,883
    Midwest, USA
    Haven't I read elsewhere that PwME often have an anaerobic threshold below this? Unfortunately, my heart rate frequently goes above even this number.
  15. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

    Messages:
    6,290
    Likes:
    8,994
    Amersfoort, Netherlands
    Normal would just be the 220-age I think. The x .6 is what takes into account our decrepitude :D
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  16. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,295
    Likes:
    6,282
    USA
    I believe the 220-age is the very rough estimate of a healthy person's maximum heart rate. It's highly inaccurate for any one given person, but exercise physiologists continue to use it because it's easy.

    (220-age) *0.8 supposedly calculates a healthy person's AT. The (220-age)*0.6 is supposed to be closer to accurate for the generic PWME. Again, all these calculations are extremely inaccurate and so should only be used as general guidelines. I suspect the (220-age)*0.6 number is too high for people with moderate to severe ME/CFS.

    I had my AT tested twice 5 years apart and got the same number each time. It is low, as is expected in PWME, but closer to the higher end for PWME than the lower. My AT is about 0.7 * (220-age). I cannot function near my AT routinely. For normal activities I have to stay closer to the 0.6*(220-age).

    I don't know if this is true for others, but I find that there's a level I can maintain (about 0.6*(220-age)) without my HR continuing to climb. When I start to do more, my HR climbs pretty rapidly to my measured AT and if I don't sit/lie down right away, I'll PEM. So, I find I can gauge my activity by how rapidly my HR climbs -- too fast = too much.
    Little Bluestem and Valentijn like this.
  17. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

    Messages:
    215
    Likes:
    245
    Little Bluestem and SOC like this.
  18. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,295
    Likes:
    6,282
    USA
    Then you are probably still doing too much. :( In my pre-Valcyte days, I had to learn to walk around the house at a step-pause-step-pause pace to keep my HR under my AT. Absolutely maddening. However, when I finally developed the self-discipline to stay under my AT, I did stop getting worse and had a lot less pain and crashes.
    Little Bluestem likes this.
  19. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

    Messages:
    2,538
    Likes:
    1,883
    Midwest, USA
    My ME is only moderate, so I will assume the (220-age)*0.6 is accurate for me. I am considering checking out the possibility of getting the test done. Meanwhile, I will see how well I do with that.

    If anyone hasn’t read The “E” Word by Jennifer Spotila, it is worth the time. I found it from the thread waiting has the link to.

    I haven’t done well using my own perceived exertion (hadn’t seen the scale until today). What I thought was very light exertion was putting my heart rate in the 130s. It takes what seems like very extremely light exertion to keep it in the 90s.
  20. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,295
    Likes:
    6,282
    USA
    Sounds like me. "Perceived exertion" is utterly meaningless as far as I'm concerned.

    To keep my HR in the 90's, I have to stick to simple cooking and very light housework. Vacuuming or dusting for very long puts me up in the 100's, which I can manage for a while without PEM. I've learned to do a lot of things by the littles with feet up time between.

    FWIW, when I have something more than my normal to do, like extra housework or a quick stop at a small store, I can work in the 100's as long as I keep an eye on my HR and stop as soon as it starts climbing rapidly. And I mean as soon as -- not 5 minutes later. I can maintain activity in the 90-110 bpm range, but once I get above that my HR climbs rapidly, so the last 15+ bpm increase happens over only a few minutes. Being aware of that allows me to do a little more than usual sometimes with a couple minutes advance warning to wind up what I'm doing before I go over my AT.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page