FIRE.135 Heart Rate_Recovery

I love data and I enjoy gadgets.  I have plenty of gadgets that track my workouts/activities. 

I track sleep, and my waking data.  I find data fascinating and my body’s data even more so.

Hospital Heart Numbers

At the hospital [#130] the medical team would wake me up in the middle of the night to run tests: vitals, blood, whatever they needed.  Each night I could hear their concern when my pulse registered low 40s.  They would often ask me to sit up and I would say (in almost full-sleep mode) “my normal sleeping/resting pulse is 40” and they would say “OK, thank you.”  I would look at the rolling monitor and it would have a RED 42 or whatever on the display.

Past Heart Numbers

At home, for the past decade-plus my waking HR,   HRV,   sleeping average, sleeping low would be quite low.  I assume this is from 20+ years of exercise.  For a baseline; my average morning HR was 38-39, morning HRV was 120ish and sleeping average HR was 44ish.  I know these numbers are extremely unique to each person’s own body, but when falling asleep at night, I could feel my heart beating, which is a little disconcerting and strange.

Back Home Heart Numbers

After coming home from the hospital my numbers were much different.  For the first two weeks they averaged:  waking HR of mid 40s and sleeping HR average low 50s. 

It was interesting how strange the 15-20% “decrease” was in my fitness after 4 days+4 hrs in the hospital and 2 weeks of “no strenuous exercise.”  The only activity I did for two weeks was walking along with 500-1000 stair steps and a few simple dumbbell exercises, nothing straining my core/surgery incisions.

I was just amazed at how much of my fitness disappeared in 2 weeks of drastic reduction.

After being home 3 full weeks.  The first two weeks were no strenuous activity, then in week 3, I eased back into my workouts 33%, 67% then 100% each day.  The only reason I increased so rapidly was because my surgeon told me it was OK to start working out when I could walk down stairs with no pain.  The problem was, I walked up and down stairs the moment I arrived home to test my abdomen and there was no pain, no pinch, no anything of concern.  That is one reason my “no strenuous activity” included 2 then 4 mile walks along with beach bluff stair climbing.  First, it was 4x*125 stairs, then 8x*125 stairs (1000+ sounded good to me).  No pain, no concerns other than a little breathing increase and some quad burn (loved it!).

Getting Heart Back to Normal Numbers

At the 6 full weeks point from entering the hospital.  My numbers are now getting closer to where they were before my scary adventure.  Twice at the 6-week mark, my watch has reported good news in the morning.  It has notified me that my heart rate fell below 40 during the night.  A standard warning of concern that a normal person’s heart rate is too low.

It’s now 12 weeks from returning home from my 4+day glitch and my numbers have been consistently low for the past few weeks.  In addition to my apple watch tracking system, after returning home from the hospital I added an Oura ring tracking tool to get similar and other data points

I truly love the data and would probably be all strapped up with gadgets if I had my way.  I have been known to wear my polar watch AND apple watch at the gym, but now I just use my polar iphone app, plus apple watch and sometimes my Oura ring.  If Whoop wasn’t $30 per month, I’d probably strap one of those on.  Note: I just saw their $24/mo yearly or $18/mo for 18 months.  Uh oh.  I also see the band is free if you sign up for 6+ months.  Oooh, there’s an app for that…data.

So, I’ve learned in great detail, and at significant concern, at how fitness (health) levels change quickly and how 1) they can come back to prior excellent levels and 2) that it takes considerable effort and patience to get back to where you were.

I have to wonder, if so many aspects of life follow the same pattern of work hard, be consistent, gain improvements, take a break, lose previous improvements, fight hard to get back to where you were before.  Having survived a stressful, close call with health/fitness, I can say it was worth the effort both physically and mentally to get back to my high baseline.  It was good to have a goal.  It was good to have to dedicate myself to myself.  It made me more appreciative of so much in my life.  I strive to practice gratituding each and every day.

*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice.  I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be.  You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.

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