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Pacing with a Heart Rate Monitor

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by urbantravels, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. helen41

    helen41 Senior Member

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    The attractive part, NO (my sister said, as only a sister can, "what the f-- happened to your watch?"). I started with a Polar F4 but the alarm was extraordinarily quiet. They replaced it with an RS100 that is just right. I don't like the chest stap, and I do end up stuffing bits of fabric under the clasps, but my skin is terribly sensitive these days. Overall, it works, I'm learning, and I'm ok with it
  2. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Unfortunately they all look like plastic sports watches and they are all pretty fugly. It's better than it used to be, my first one was majorly ugly, and now the major brands like Polar have "ladies" models where the watch part is pink or white. Doesn't suit me because I wouldn't willingly wear anything pink if you had a gun to my head, but then again, I am widely known to be no lady.;)

    I find myself wishing that instead of a watch I had something like a fob I could put on a belt loop, but there just isn't that great a variety of offerings in the reliable brands.
  3. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    Well Lisa, I found attractive to be a big problem - never found one! All the ones I looked at on the internet looked even uglier in real life when I went to the store, with their plastic, dollar store looking, non-replaceable wrist bands.

    A Polar FS1 was recommended to me on one of the threads, I think here at PR, but I couldn't find one locally so ended up with a Polar
    FT1. It is pretty basic but was still $100.00 on sale for 80.00 up here in Canada but think that it's quite a bit cheaper in the US. It does come with a chest strap which is not very comfortable and ends up creating sores underneath but I put up with the discomfort in order to gain the benefits of knowledge. The chest strap was recommended as being more accurate than the wrist only type.

    This one also has a constant display so you can just glance at it anytime. I understand there are some models that you have to push a button in order to see the reading. I personally felt that was just not as convenient as a constant display. This one also comes with an alarm that sounds if the HR goes above or below the numbers that you've set it for. The alarm is loud enough to hear yet not bothersome.

    I've read that some people do measure the number of steps they take in a day so I guess a model with a pedometer would be useful if you wanted to do that.

    As far as I can tell, this one has everything I need. I would have settled for a cheaper model for half the price but couldn't find one locally in that price range that had an alarm. If I had ordered on line, I could have gotten one less expensive but I didn't want to wait the usual 3weeks delivery time to get it here.

    Good luck shopping.
  4. OnlyResting

    OnlyResting

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    Personally, I'd always go for one with an ECG-accurate chest strap and a watch with a constant reading but that's just me.

    I'd also give up on the attractiveness aspect, lol. The watches all look like something Michael J Fox would wear in Back To The Future :)
  5. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    By the way, since people are talking about using pedometers too, I thought I'd throw this out there; the Fitbit:

    http://www.fitbit.com/

    I learned about this a while back via a friend who is involved in product design (apparently it won design awards.) It's a little clippy thing that senses motion (a consumer version of the actometers sometimes used in research) that you wear to monitor your daily activity - and you also wear it at night to track your sleep - apparently it can tell when you fall asleep based on your movement patterns.

    It's intended for healthy people, of course, to help them get more physical activity, but I can't help thinking it could be a useful gadget for us to use in our self-monitoring/pacing, and would also give us potentially useful information about our sleep patterns. In case we don't already feel like we have enough equipment hanging off us with our heart rate monitors and everything. But this is a neat little gadget and at $99 not too expensive. Per their website they're backordered at the moment...and I'm not in any big hurry to add more to my equipment collection at the moment...but I thought I'd pass it along in case anyone is interested in trying it out.
  6. AliceZ

    AliceZ

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    Sallysblooms-
    Thanks. I'll check that out. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of having both kinds of monitors.
  7. Sea

    Sea Senior Member

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    Does the watch part have to be worn on the wrist? Or are there other options for the watch part when you have a chest strap transmitter?
  8. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    I think wearing it works best so you can look at it a lot.
  9. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    The watch part on mine is very stiff because it is a plastic sports watch, so while I can put it on a belt loop or even in my pocket, it's awkward to grab it and turn it so I can see it. It's OK if all I care about is listening for the alarm if it goes off, but of course I want to look at it frequently to see where I am.

    Learned something new the other day - I was crashed out on my couch after lunch and fell asleep for a short time. I'm a lousy napper - I almost never nap during the day, and when I do, I tend to wake up suddenly and feel really disoriented and groggy for a long time afterward. Well, on this particular day I did I fell asleep for a short time - probably not much more than 20 minutes - and woke up suddenly feeling very startled and queasy. My HR when I looked at it was up around 108 - not quite enough to set off my alarm which is at 110 - but almost there. Took a while of lying quietly before it got down to its normal 80s/90s.

    I haven't worn the thing overnight yet but it is said to be useful to know what your HR is when you first wake up in the morning. I'm now wondering how often I'm waking up in that "adrenaline surge" state - for many years, while I was still healthy, I used to have the kind of insomnia where you wake up about 2 or 3 AM with heart pounding and then can't get back to sleep for hours. Ironically, I sleep better now that I'm sick because I'm on meds that seem to work well for keeping me asleep all night.
  10. OnlyResting

    OnlyResting

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    Hi everyone :)

    Whilst the Facebook group has been useful, the format doesn't allow for easy access to information. I'm also aware that not everyone uses Facebook. With that in mind, I've created a space dedicated to the use of heart rate monitors at:

    http://heartratemonitor.proboards.com/

    This should allow information to be indexed and easily accessible as well as having help files and user journals etc.
  11. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    Thank you OR!! I can't deal with Facebook at all, so this is great!
  12. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    I just received my Timex HRM and I have a coupla questions for those of you who have used them for a bit...

    Do you get readings while completely at rest that fluctuate in the space of a minute or so? Just lying here looking at it, it is jumping up and down and around between 49 and 59 bpm. I put conductive gel on the strappy thing, btw. I am wondering if it is defective, or if my heart rate is really all that irregular ?!

    Since my resting rate is so low (for a non-athlete; could it be all those years
    of mindfulness meditation? :rolleyes:) I have to wonder about where to set my limit. I feel whacked out at readings that are way lower than the formula suggests. Unless, of course the low resting rate is another indication that the unit is defective.

    The strap makes a tiny "tic tic tic" noise that drives me a little bonkers. Does yours do this?

    And this is a rhetorical question entirely: What was I thinking? I never ever where the hideously uncomfortable undergarment that goes around the chest...what made me think this thing would not drive me nuts? I wonder if I can return it after it's been used...
  13. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Hi Leela,

    I laughed about "the hideous undergarment!" Thing is, while the chest strap on the monitor is annoying it actually does something tangible for you and is really interesting to monitor your heart rate on different activities, so it is easier to tolerate. Also, I only put mine on if I am going to be doing exercise and want to make sure I don't overdue.

    As far as the variation. I have a Polar and it may work slightly differently but I think it averages every 2 beats and that accounts for some of the jumping. And yes, even moving your arm to pick something up changes my heart rate. And mine is about 58 when resting--low but not as low as yours. Do you have a home BP machine to check it with--or just count!

    The formula they use for setting limits is based on being "normal." I try to keep mine below 90 when exercising. If I get over 100 for more than a few minutes, I'l get PEM.

    I'd experiment, notice your reactions to different heart rates and set your own limits. Another fun game is to go for a walk or whatever with another patient wearing a monitor and compare notes. You can't get too close to each other though or you "cross pollinate!" Another thing to be aware of is that if you skip a beat or two, it might read zero! :eek: And, if you get near high voltage wires it can suddenly say 250!

    As I said, it is good entertainment!
    Sushi
  14. OnlyResting

    OnlyResting

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    Hi Leela :)

    In terms of the formula, I would use it with a dose of skepticism. Not to say it isn't a great guide. I think it is. However, it is only a guide and you will get a lot more indication from your body as to what a comfortable limit for you is.
  15. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    I have never had mine make a noise. I have one with the strap and one without. They are both very good.
  16. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    Leela, I have had a "brittle" BP & P (blood pressure and pulse) for some years now. Sitting completely still, I can watch it go up and down 15-20 points within seconds...more so with the BP. Even though I'm remaining completely still, I've always considered part of the OI.
  17. rwinsmom528

    rwinsmom528

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    My aerobic threshold is 90 BPM- how do I keep under that? My HR goes to 120 to 130 just from getting up to go to the toilet and back. Does that mean I should get a bedpan?

    According to the Pacific University (I hope I got the name right) the HR monitor should actually be set 10% below the AT. For me that would be 81. Even while lying down it's tough to stay below 81. A cough or sneeze sends me to 91-95 briefly.

    I have tried just stopping and sitting on the floor halfway to the toilet and waiting for my HR to come down and resting for 1 min after the HR comes down. It seemed to help yesterday and the day before (I just got the HR monitor recently). But this morning I wasn't as careful, and I also took a very short shower (sat down in the shower part of the time) but the room was cold and I got chilled (shivering). I wasn't wearing the monitor at that time so have no idea how high my HR got, but today my HR remained elevated even though I was lying down all the rest of the day except to use the toilet and also to eat food that was brought to my bed by my family.

    Any ideas would be appreciated. BTW I also have POTS and NMH
  18. paclabman

    paclabman

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    With the POTS, that has to be very challenging and frustrating. By unfortunate coincidence my niece also has Lyme and developed severe POTS. When she stands up, her BP totally drops and HR can go to 160 - 180. I wish we could go see them, but due to finances and my health, we haven't been able to travel cross country.

    Were you having severe PEM symptoms all the time? A way to view the heart rate monitor is to use it to do things more efficiently. It helps to find out which things are the worst. There is also the question of how long your heart rate is up.

    I don't know your situation, but if it's avoidable, it'd be good to not do less in a day but to find ways to do them better. So these are just suggestions, since the whole heart rate monitor thing is trial and error anyways. The goal is to reduce your PEM symptoms.

    Maybe go ahead and set the HRM to 90 and do the things that are necessary. Find out which are the worst, and try to change them. While you're working it out, maybe not worry so much about going over your target HR for short periods?

    I had some surprises and found specific things I could improve. The worst thing I was doing was drying off with a towel after a shower. It is bad bad bad because of moving so many small muscle groups. Before, my HR was still up when I put on the HRM after drying. Now i sit down to dry off. One person on the forum uses a turkish towel type bath robe, puts it on the floor, and lies down on it to dry off. Let the robe do the work. A very innovative solution.

    I also found being a little tense/ anxiety cost me 10 bpm. LOL .. I had a call from the ins. carrier the other day after a couple of min my HRM alarm was going off.

    Maybe you can experiment and change to worst things that raise your HR. Maybe that will give you some improvement.

    I've started some elastic band strength exercises. There are versions that can be done lying done. Hopefully you can find a way to tone up some and increase fitness without inducing PEM.

    At least in my case, simply going over the limit for a short time doesn't cause a problem. Yesterday I was trying to get out a couple of ugly stains on the carpet in the kids room. I have my HRM set 10% low (115 from lab, I set to 105). I took some breaks and even scrubbed the carpet lying down sometimes, but I kept setting off the alarm (never went over 115). Today I have some PEM, but I think it's because I spent so long in the 100 - 105 range.

    Don't know if any of this helps, but I hope you can experiment and find ways to improve your situation.
  19. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    This is a really helpful post, paclabman. Thank you.
  20. rwinsmom528

    rwinsmom528

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    Thank you for your help, paclabman. It helps to keep in mind the goal is avoiding PEM.

    Yes, after getting chilled I have had some PEM symptoms yesterday and today, but severity is a hard thing for me to judge. I feel like my life is one big PEM with a couple of OK times in between. My last one lasted four weeks and was triggered by extremely stressing news. The stress reactivated an old virus and flattened me almost back to where I was at my first relapse in 2007(I could barely drag myself to toilet) which was so severe I believed that I would die two different times but purposely did not ask for help because I wanted the end to come--- not because I was depressed but I was in so much pain, nausea and feeling so mostly dead already. (I digress.)

    I was coming out of this most recent PEM (basically bedridden the whole time) when I started using the HRM. Just sitting up in bed sends me 10-30% over my AT. Then when I stand it shoots up higher. I have found through experimenting as you suggested that if I sit up and wait a while my HR will go back down (at least it did before that shower/cold thing caused another less severe PEM that seems to have lasted 2 days so far). I usually wait a little longer and then stand up to walk.
    This AM I tried drinking 16 oz of water before getting out of bed and waited the 15 min for it to take effect and found that I could make it all the way to the toilet before I cross the 90 BPM mark. This also kept my HR from going into the 120 range. Washing my hands sends it up there, so I sit again after washing my hands until my HR has been down for a minute.

    I think that when my heart rate goes beyond 90 it is using up precious energy. Having my HR over the mark for much more than 30 sec- 1 min. makes me short of breath and tired. I think my body has so little overall energy it is barely able to keep any kind of equilibrium. Sitting up and eating, even with my feet up, causes my HR to go to 95-100. Sometimes I wonder if I should consider liquid nutrition for one meal per day or something to see if it saves some energy for me to use for movement. Digestion keeps my HR above 90 as well. Even before the HRM I found that I can't watch action/adventure movies or real tear-jerkers because they cause me PEM. Now that I have the HRM I can see why.

    Before getting chilled in that shower I was able to do some leg lifts (3 reps at a time of 3 types) and still stay at 90 or under as long as I rested for a min after each 3 reps. Yesterday and today I can't seem to get my HR to stay under 90 much at all except for first thing this AM.--Maybe tomorrow will be better.

    I do want to move but I crash so easily and so far and for so long that it is really scary to do anything anymore. I think that experimenting like you said and patience I may be able to figure out what i can and can't do. And all the while I am reclining and typing this my HRM is going off.......and I am starting to get short of breath. I had better stop or I'll be stuck in PEM forever. ;) Typing must be exertion for me. Guess I had better get back to more Dick Van Dyke.

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