Bradycardia and low resting heart rates

I wonder what people’s experiences are with low heart rates. That is with ordinary blood pressure in the range of 110-120/70-80 but a heart rate in the low 40s.

Most searches about this come up with Bradycardia. However, I think @conqueringaging has been trying to get his RHR down to about 40 on the basis that there is good evidence that this is an indicator of good cardiac health.

I wonder if you can over do this. The lowest I have hit ordinarily is about 41-42 and because my RHR is sort of trending down (the RHR has stabilised at about 48 with average sleeping HR of 45) I am wondering if perhaps I am overdoing this.


A low RHR from a big strong heart that doesn’t need to pump fast to move enough blood around is a good thing.

A low HR from a weak heart that can’t pump well is a bad thing.


That’s what I think is the issue. I think the ratio between systolic and diastolic indicates to some extent the volume being pumped in each beat. I have not, however, found any useful research to indicate when it is best not to take things further.

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Nobody gets very concerned about asymptomatic bradycardia, unless you’re older in which case an ekg might be warranted.

Not sure what trying to get your heart rate down is all about. Get as healthy as you can and don’t worry about the heart rate.

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What are you doing that has an effect on RHR?

I thought it was down to exercise. Maybe NO status.

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I don’t do that much exercise and am not varying my routine. I am currently doing 3 lowish eating days 3 fasting days and 1 drinking day per week. I have increased citrate although it may at 40g be too high and I took seriphos. The less drinking makes a difference.

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Why not worry about heart rate? A stronger heart is better. More physical fitness will show up in a lower heart rate for a given level of work, and in a lower resting heart rate. I agree we shouldn’t compare HR between people (too much) but my HR tells me a lot about my health, in my opinion. Do you disagree?

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Since you mention Mike Lustgarten, he has a video (an entire playlist actually) explaining that low RHR is associated with both youth and advanced age, but resting heart rate variability can be used to distinguish between the two.

So to answer your question “if you can over do this”, check your HRV.

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I suggest visiting a cardiologist. My heart rate was down in the 40’s but after they put a monitor on me, it recorded sleeping heart rates down to 26. One hot day 10 years ago, I was pedaling my bicycle hard in the Florida sun and passed out. Then at home I fell against the garage door. CT said all was fine but two months later I was having effects from a subdural hematoma.
I ended up with a pacemaker.

If I don’t drink a lot of water before exercising, I still pass out in hot weather.


The HRV is a useful metric, however.

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You do you. I just dont see a use for resting HR being my exercise goal.

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Youre in the age group where bradycardia deserves a work up.

I was in the group you described; RHR was 45-48 on awakening. BP was quite good at around 120/70. Only problem was I was having an episode of atrial fibrillation every 4-6 weeks. Holter monitor revealed my nocturnal HR was down to about 33.
As my electro-cardiologist explained, a slow HR at night, a bit of dehydration and you have the makings of a clot. If the clot is expelled, it can result in a stroke…fatal or non-fatal.
So I had an ablation on May 4th and my RHR is now more like 65.
As an aside, it is not widely publicised, but quite a number of super-fit young cyclists have died in their sleep over the last 20-30 years due to extremely slow HR, high RBC levels and maybe a bit of dehydration.
So to summarize, yes I think a slow HR at night can be “too much of a good thing”.


A helpful post. My nocturnal HR is not going that low as yet. I know if I am drinking my HR is quite a bit higher although I would prefer not to increase my drinking days.

My RBC is around normal.

@John_Hemming Are you saying you only eat 3 days a week?

@DrT Ablation for a fib is common, but I haven’t heard of it for bradycardia?

He’s willfully missing your point.

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On fasting days I have a small amount of food in the morning to assist with absorbing supplements plus citrate. On drinking days I may go to a restaurant. I also drink herbal teas later in the day (and tea with milk, but no sugar in the morning). Hence it is only really partially fasting.

The ablation is not “for” bradycardia. The ablation is to stop atrial fibrillation.
Bradycardia is often a symptom of AF as the normal signal generation from the sino-atrial node is over-ridden by ectopic signal generation.
If the HR remains low post ablation, then a pacemaker may be required as the SAN is likely permanently damaged.


A fib with bradycardia? Is that on medication or with tachy-Brady syndrome?