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I have an extremely slow resting pulse. It is not uncommon for it to be around 50. Last night it was around 45. I know that super athletes have a slow resting pulse, but I wouldn't class myself as one of those:

I cycle to work (about 8 mile round trip) which is up and down some quite steep inclines and go to the gym 0-2 times a week to do some weight training and some running on the treadmill.

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Have you consulted a doctor? –  Ivo Flipse Jun 1 '11 at 11:06
    
No I haven't - I'm not sure whether it warrants it - hence the question –  Matt Wilko Jun 1 '11 at 12:19
    
I'm not sure if you might have a medical condition - hence the question :-) –  Ivo Flipse Jun 1 '11 at 12:24
    
If you asking if I have any pre-existing medical condition then the answer is no I don't. –  Matt Wilko Jun 1 '11 at 12:50
    
@James Bond a low heart-rate on its own is nothing to worry about as long as you have no other reasons to think otherwise. Mine can be around 35-40 when i wake up in the morning. Its quite normal –  rmx Jun 1 '11 at 13:16
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3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Take a look at this article: The Athlete's Heart. Looking at your exercise regimen, I think you are more of an athlete than you realize. Just biking the 8 miles a day has you putting on at least 40 miles per week of aerobic exercise.

The article states that with a heavy aerobic exercise regimen, the heart responds by lowering its heart rate, but increasing the volume of blood in each beat. With anaerobic exercise (weight lifting, other high intensity sports), the heart walls thicken to increase the blood pressure during exertion. These are normal affects, and the changes occur within the first 4-6 weeks of training.

Also according to the article you should consult your doctor if:

  1. A history of fainting for no apparent reason, especially if the fainting occurred during or immediately after exercise.
  2. Symptoms of an irregular heartbeat, palpitations, skipped beats or fluttering heartbeat either when resting or exercising.
  3. A close blood relative who died suddenly before the age of 55, or a family history of early coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, Marfan's syndrome or enlarged heart.
  4. A family or personal history of seizures.
  5. You are a male over age 40 or a female over 50, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you have a medical evaluation before you begin an exercise program.
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Thanks for posting some nice guidelines for when he should be worried. –  Ivo Flipse Jun 1 '11 at 13:12
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+1 slower heart rate is a good thing if you're in good health. –  Evan Plaice Jun 2 '11 at 22:27
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I've wrestled for my highschool for only a couple of months. Since then, my heartbeat has been extremely slow. It doesn't take too much activity to slow down your heartbeat.

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Hi @DalexL, care to elaborate on how your 'answer' answers the question? –  Ivo Flipse Jun 1 '11 at 17:03
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I wouldn't consider 45 heart resting rate as too slow. My heart beats about the same speed as yours and I never had a problem. I am also not a top athlete, I just do regular sports without high ambitions. My doctors never complained about it, just the opposite.

For me it is very likely genetic. My father, who is even less an athlete, has the same slow heart rate. You should check in your family if there are other people with the same "issues". Consulting a doctor is never a bad idea, but I wouldn't worry about it.

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