|hmm... I'm not punching myself in the face... :D|
Day 13 and we're talking about Heart Rate
Besides heart abnormalities in ME/CFS, having a heart rate tracker can really help you understand your activity levels and find a marker for over-exertion that you can track yourself every day.
Bio-trackers are some of the coolest pieces of personalized tech that can help us put numbers to our experiences. I have had a fitbit for about 3 years to help me monitor my activity, and upgraded to one with a heart rate monitor last year after I had numerous tests for abnormal heart activity (being a 30 year old in a cardiac unit surrounded by 80 year olds is quite an experience).
I don't technically have any cardio diagnosis other than being on-watch for hypertension but I've experienced palpatations and irregular heart beat, and my heart rate tracker has enabled me to see tangible results to my experience.
In addition to just watching the heart rate monitor, I found this great trick about using your heart rate to stay within your energy envelope (that tricky boundary you want to stay within to avoid PEM or a crash).
Find your target heart rate for someone with ME/CFS and stop, sit or lie down if you exceed it (as soon as you can!)
The formula goes:
Find your maximum heart rate: 220 minus your age (for me this is 220-32 = 188)
Now the range for ME/CFS can be between 45% (x 0.45) and 60% (x 0.6) of this number depending on your level of disability (for me this means my max heart rate should be between 84.6 - 112.8, I have found if I keep my peak at 115, I'm generally OK.
Today my heart rate when I got out of bed was about 70. (joints ached but was generally OK)
When I was sitting down blow-drying my hair it was 106. (was feeling pretty crappy)
When I climbed to the top of the little hill at the end of my street it went up to 136 (DANGER! I might faint.)
When I got home from my short outing my heartrate was back down to 86 (surprised it was this low, ready for a little rest).
When I'm lying in bed doing deep relaxation I can sometimes get my heart down to 55, and that feels like a nice place to be.
Fit Bit says my resting heart rate is 63, which is pretty dang normal (healthy range is 60-100, with very healthy athletes achieving resting heart rate in the 40's), though I'm never in the 60's during the day - I am usually in the 70's and 80's doing very low impact tasks.
I'm not doing a very good job of staying within my energy envelope - even after many years my energy envelope has varied a lot - and for no reason that I can really track - not diet, meditation or life circumstances that significantly have a factor on how well I am in general. Last summer I would walk for 1-2 hours every evening playing Pokemon Go. This summer just walking across the street gets me to my maximum heart rate. I have had one crash after another since January - which is one of my inspirations for doing this blog - re-learning the tips for myself so that I can give myself the best chance.
I'm very interested in this study about working on building strength while lying down - what do you think?
What's your favorite bio-tracker? Has tracking your heart rate helped you? Let me know in the comments!
If you feel so moved to help The OHC bring an integrated approach to more ME/CFS patients, Click Here to Donate to the Optimum Health Clinic Foundation
Go to Day 1: What ME Feels Like and About This Challenge!
Go to Day 2: Gentle Movement
Go to Day 3: Meditation
Go to Day 4: Protein and Plant Power!
Go to Day 5: Sleep