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TOPIC: Beta Blockers and Exercise

 
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January 30, 2011 12:49 PM
Can I use the same formula for calculating my Max Heart Rate if I am taking Toprolol, a beta blocker? It's my understanding that beta blockers slow your heart rate, if so, how does this affect your heart rate while exercising?
  1436464
January 30, 2011 12:56 PM
Thank you for asking this question. I am in the same situation.
  4164142
January 30, 2011 1:20 PM
Depending on your dose you may not be able to get your heart rate up while on a beta blocker. So you can pretty much throw any formulas out the window. The best thing for you to do would be to use perceived exertion as a guide. I have a heart rate monitor bur honestly don't hardly ever use it as I can tell by how I feel and breath how hard I am working. That isn't to say that it isn't useful, especially for someone starting out. For most workouts if yo can still talk but find it a bit difficlt you are probably in a good zone. If you are gasping and cannot talk at all you are pushing too hard. If you are training with a HR monnitor on a beta blocker you should be able to tell with time what your own maximum is and what levels you can sustain. Even for people NOT on beta blockers I generally advise against using the formulas as there is just too much individual genetic variation from person to person and to use a HR monitor correctly one must establish their OWN maximum and target heart rates.
  437201
January 30, 2011 2:48 PM
Thank you schobert101, good advice. You're right I can feel when it's a bit difficult but not impossible. I have been using a HR monitor but my calorie counts seen pretty low so I have been really pushing my exertions to the gasping point. I just need to relax and not push to burn so many calories...maybe I should just retire my HR monitor. Thanks again for your advice.
  1436464
January 30, 2011 2:56 PM
This makes so much sense. I've been searching all over the internet looking for answers. Thank you for putting it in perspective. I might not reach my goal as quickly, but slow and steady wins the race.
  4164142
January 30, 2011 3:36 PM
I should have mentioned it before but didn't.........those of you on beta blockers are obviously on them for a reason. If it is for heart disease, blood pressure etc check with your own doctor whether it is safe to exercise and to what level. Also to expound on the individuality thing, my husband is on a beta blocker to control some cardiac arrythmias. He can barely get his heart rate up to 80. On the other hand my personal maximum is about 190 (one's max is genetically determined and not a function of fitness). If I used the traditional formula it would put my max at only 163 and I would be vastly underworking to try and stay in the ranges suggested by the formula
  437201
January 30, 2011 3:52 PM
QUOTE:

Thank you schobert101, good advice. You're right I can feel when it's a bit difficult but not impossible. I have been using a HR monitor but my calorie counts seen pretty low so I have been really pushing my exertions to the gasping point. I just need to relax and not push to burn so many calories...maybe I should just retire my HR monitor. Thanks again for your advice.


You cannot use HRM calorie estimates when on a beta blocker, for the reasons described earlier.

I can't say it enough: HRMs DO NOT MEASURE CALORIES. They measure heart rate. They use equations to estimate calories burned based on a number of factors. One of the key factors is your maximum heart rate. If your heart rate response to exercise is blunted, the equations are useless, and so are your calorie numbers.

Theoretically if you knew the dosage levels in your blood were consistent so that your blunted heart rate response was consisted and you did a max stress test and found out your true HR max while on the medication, you could program that HR as the HRmax in your HRM and that might be enough to make the equations work for you. Practically, I don't think that is possible.

HRMs have the same problem "in reverse" when HR is elevated for any reason other than steady-state aerobic exercise.
January 30, 2011 4:28 PM
Schobert101 more good advice. You're right, I'm on the beta blocker for CAD and I have a stent in my left descending artery. I have been given clearance by my cardiologist and doctor to exercise.

Thanks Azdak, I will give the HRM to my hubby. I'll go back to using common sense while exercising, and a low estimate of calories burned using MFP's database. Thank you for your advice.
  1436464
January 30, 2011 5:19 PM
Jg8798, before you give the monitor away......in your case since you have CAD it could be very useful to make sure you are not overworking. Since you have heart disease your cardiologist might be able to give you some numbers as to what he/she feels is a safe range for you. If you have had a stress test that could be of some use to the cardiologist in making his/her recommendations. Just don't count on it for calories.
  437201
January 30, 2011 5:25 PM
QUOTE:

Jg8798, before you give the monitor away......in your case since you have CAD it could be very useful to make sure you are not overworking. Since you have heart disease your cardiologist might be able to give you some numbers as to what he/she feels is a safe range for you. If you have had a stress test that could be of some use to the cardiologist in making his/her recommendations. Just don't count on it for calories.


I agree. The first and best job of HRMs is to monitor your heart rate. That can be a valuable tool. I know people buy them for the calories, but heart rate monitoring is the most important feature--by far.
January 30, 2011 5:37 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Jg8798, before you give the monitor away......in your case since you have CAD it could be very useful to make sure you are not overworking. Since you have heart disease your cardiologist might be able to give you some numbers as to what he/she feels is a safe range for you. If you have had a stress test that could be of some use to the cardiologist in making his/her recommendations. Just don't count on it for calories.


I agree. The first and best job of HRMs is to monitor your heart rate. That can be a valuable tool. I know people buy them for the calories, but heart rate monitoring is the most important feature--by far.
  1436464
January 30, 2011 5:40 PM
Sorry guys, I'm new to this too :).

I will speak to my cardiologist about a safe range for my heart rate and keep the HRM to make sure I'm exercising safely. Thanks everyone!
  1436464
August 9, 2011 5:06 PM
Found this post through a search. This board is wonderful. I too am on a beta blocker and was wondering, what if any, implications that has on a cardio workout - because I just can't get it over 115-120.

Thanks!
November 21, 2013 3:53 AM
I am a NASM Certified personal trainer. NASM uses a scientific, evidence based approach and they teach trainers to use the following formula for clients on beta blockers (or other HR-lowering medications):

162 - (0.7 x age) = max
November 21, 2013 4:09 PM
QUOTE:

I am a NASM Certified personal trainer. NASM uses a scientific, evidence based approach and they teach trainers to use the following formula for clients on beta blockers (or other HR-lowering medications):

162 - (0.7 x age) = max


Not sure of the context for that statement, but there is no way you can use a single forumula to estimate HR max while taking a beta blocker. Exercise HR reponse is affected by many factors: dosage, time of day, type of drug (some Ca++ channel blockers have a blunting effect as well). The same person can have completely different responses with certain beta blockers based on time of day.

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