Question: I’m 55, have been off the bike for five years and gained significant weight. I also had two angioplasty procedures. Now I’m riding again, but my cardiologist recommends a max heart rate of 145. It’s hard to keep it so low. I want to train normally. How can I convince my doctor to allow me to do that? — Regis H.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You can call me Coach Fred, but don’t call me Dr. Fred.
I don’t have the qualifications, and certainly not thetemerity, to suggest anything other than to follow your cardiologist’s recommendations. When you have a history of heart problems, it always pays to do what medical authorities say.
There’s one important qualifier, though — you need to work with a cardiologist who understands endurance sports in general and, ideally, cycling in particular.
I’ve noticed that some cardiologists don’t seem to understand exercise, although you’d think that of all the medical disciplines, they’d be the most likely to.
Weight is probably a factor in your high heart rate, especially on climbs. It takes more work to move a larger mass uphill.
Even if your rides are predominantly flat, small rises can boost your heart rate pretty high. Continue doing the right things to shed pounds and keep them off.