Exercise everyday to achieve good resting heart rate

By YS Chan


BRISK walking, jogging and cycling are by far the most popular exercises as large number of people, rich or poor, could indulge in these outdoor activities. But over the past decades, I kept trying and failing to exercise regularly on alternate days or three to four times per week.

After resting a day, it was hard to get out of bed the next morning. I often told myself that I needed more sleep, or rest when feeling tired, or there was lightning or about to rain. Extending another day of rest often stretched into days and then weeks without much physical activity.

It was only in recent months that I managed to overcome all these by going to bed early without waiting to feel sleepy, not overexerting myself when exercising so as not to feel tired the next morning, exercising under shelter whenever it rained so as to avoid resting for a single day.

Fortunately, I stay in a condominium with four small apartment blocks built on a large parcel of land. The perimeter road within the compound is ideal for walking, jogging and cycling, whereas on public roads, one has to contend with traffic, potholes, intimidating people or dogs.

Walking briskly would take about an hour to complete eight rounds of the perimeter road. Cycling for an hour could cover 18, 21 or 24 rounds, depending on whether I was pedalling at a leisurely, fast or furious pace using the top gear of a 24-speed mountain bike the entire time.

In recent months, I stopped pushing myself to set new personal records by going faster or longer. A year ago, I cycled non-stop for 45 rounds and last October, I walked more than 10,000 steps daily for many days without rest and was probably reacting to the prolonged lockdowns.

During this period when I exercised regularly exceeding 90 minutes per day, the wear and tear took its toll. One of my knees started to produce a clicking sound each time I stepped hard on the pedal or took a longer stride. Although it was painless, I did not want to aggravate the injury.

I did not stop exercising to recover. While cycling, I had to gingerly find the right position and angle before pushing down the pedals. While walking, I had to ensure stepping on the ground without the knees making a sound.  I also reduced my exercises from 90 minutes to an hour.

For many years, I used to count every step while brisk walking and my pace would always be 3,333 steps for every 30 minutes, whether I walked for half an hour, one hour or 90 minutes. Increasing the strides would cover a greater distance, but the pace always remained the same.

Nowadays, whenever it rained in the morning, I walked around the ground floor of my apartment block, which is sheltered from the elements. To ensure that I did not overexert myself, I have recently learned to jog very slowly at the same speed as brisk walking.

This came after I tried to jog longer and faster like I used to do more than 10 years ago and almost fainted a few months ago. This is because I suffer from various heart ailments, starting with atrial fibrillation in 1993 and was admitted to hospitals thrice in two years.

In 2007, I had an angiogram which confirmed that one of my major heart vessels was partially blocked and explained why I failed a stress test easily. In 2016, I was again admitted to hospital when my heart was beating very rapidly but weakly for 18 hours non-stop.

I am now living on borrowed time and is kept alive by balanced diet and exercise. By going to bed early, limiting brisk walking or cycling to one hour, not pedalling furiously or jogging very slowly, I managed to exercise every day for the past few months without fail, rain or shine.

While exercising, I breathe normally and do not get tired but energised and look forward to it every day. The pulse rate of an average person is 72 to 75 beats per minute and as low as 50 to 65 for a fit person. For most of my adult life, my heart rate was in the low 60s.

Today, my heart beats 45 to 48 times per minute at rest. Lowering it to below 50 could be attributed to my daily exercise of an hour every day for the past few months. My age is in the seventies, and if you are younger and start exercising every day, you probably get better result. – July 13, 2021


YS Chan is Asean Tourism Master Trainer for travel agencies, master trainer for Travel & Tours Enhancement Course and Mesra Malaysia (both programmes under Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture). He is also a tourism and transport industry consultant and writer.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Photo credit: Dream Stop

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