I am a 50 year old male who is a bit of an exercise nut. I have a resting pulse of 55, and push it up to 160 during a strenuous work out on my cross trainer. I know that I'm very fit for my age, but I'm sort of worried that now I'm 50, I might just overdo it and keel over. All the men in my family for the last few generations on my Father's side have dropped dead of a heart attack in their 50's and 60's, though my father, who's 80, is still going strong despite suffering a stroke six years ago. My mother, who's also 80, underwent a heart bypass and aortic valve replacement two months ago.
Can anyone give me any guidance about whether I should just keep on as I have been ( I feel fine by the way ), or throttle back a bit, or, should I just listen to what my body is telling me and forget my age. Thanks!
Your question can best be answered by assessing what your risk factors are.
What is your cholesterol level, how about the LDL, what is your resting blood pressure, do you watch your diet, what is your weight, do you smoke, etc. If the answer to all of these questions are in the desirable range, then your exercise workouts are probably OK.
I'm personally not a great believer in the value of pushing the heart rate up markedly by exercise, and would advise you to use sensible subjective sensations when you think you have arrived with enough exercise. Such sensations include shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness or dizziness and the feeling that enough exercise has been accomplished. Also, it depends on how often you exercise as to how much you do.
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