I discover the wonders and dangers of my new heart rate monitor

I just ran up three flights of stairs and my heart rate is 85 beats per minute. Can’t wait for that cup of black coffee but I am wondering what it will do to my heart. Should I be worrying about this and, if so, will that raise my heart rate too?

I am wearing this contraption for training purposes under the instructions of my therapeutic personal trainer, Ricardo and I find it fascinating and, let’s admit it, I have got slightly obsessive about it.

I wear a mini-computer on a strap around my chest which transmits my heart rate to the watch on my wrist and, if I so wish, I can tell just what every activity does to my heart. Does making the coffee raise it more than drinking it, I wonder?

Well, yes it did. Making it raised my heart rate to 84 bpm and I have now finished the coffee, it was great, Columbian, black and strong, and my resting heart rate is now 74 beats per minute. I expect it to settle at about 64 bpm but I promise not to obsess.


When I last saw my neurologist, who is observing my recovery from that brain haemorrhage that I suffered 18 months ago, she was slightly concerned that some of my remaining symptoms could indicate that I may have had a minor stroke at the same time as the haemorrhage and the subsequent grand mal epileptic fits. As a precaution, I am having my blood pressure tested every month for a year and, so far, so good.

Doctors call high blood pressure hypertension and, I suspect, if I do have a problem, it is nothing to do with my heart but more to do with my difficulty in relaxing and switching off my brain. The heart rate monitor has been an unexpected bonus here.

Some scaffolding men have been removing their gear from the house next door and I have just had to rush downstairs again to tell them off for putting ladders on my roof without asking for my permission. I was firm but fair and my heart rate rose to 94 bpm. After a few deep breaths, I am writing again and I am down to 82 bpm but then I am a very fast typist.

Where the monitor is a brilliant devise is at the gym where I can work out exactly what pace to set so that my exercise is at the appropriate aerobic intensity and, just as importantly, that my cooling down afterwards is sufficiently relaxed to bring down my heart rate to a good resting speed.

In time, I think, I will learn to recognise how much I should exert myself and just when I should rest.

I took it to the park yesterday with my kung fu instructor Neil for our weekly lesson. It was interesting to see how my Tai Chi form could be much more relaxed and just how much my Chinese Straight Sword pattern pushed up my heart rate. Now that I am concentrating on soft styles in my martial arts training, the monitor is a useful spy telling me just how much looser and more relaxed I need to be.

The scaffolders have gone, the coffee is drunk and this blog is complete – my heart rate is now 74 bpm. Room for improvement I think. I wonder if this excellent little piece of equipment will actually show me how to relax one day.

2 Comments

  1. My old english teacher made us measure our heart beat. she then read out a john donne poem and make us check it again.

    everyone's heart beat had gone up! not a bad way to start A level English….

  2. Excellent….I think the heart rate monitor has been under-used in questions of the heart. I wonder what Romeo and Juliet's bpm would have been.

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