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Is it normal for my heart rate to reach 200bpm while working out?

By Anonymous August 22, 2010 - 1:03pm
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I’m 28yo, 5ft 1in, and weigh 130lbs. I’m not on any type of medications and I’m very active, at least in my opinion. I work out 5 days/week for at least an hour each time. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s I run anywhere from 2-4 miles, in addition to calisthenics. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I attend spin classes which last about 45-50 min, and I combine that with strength training. My main problem/concern is when I run. I always get so tired so fast, about 5 min into the run. I always feel like I’m suffocating, or just can’t breathe and I feel like someone has drained all of my energy. I purchased a heart rate monitor, and I've noticed that I start to get tired when my heart rate gets around 170. Once it reaches the 190’s-200, it’s very uncomfortable and sometimes hurt, and I have to stop to catch my breath. I run at a very slow pace but it doesn’t matter, b/c I still can’t complete 1 mile without having to stop 2 or 3 times. If I increase my pace, I just get exhausted even faster.

I have tried different things like doing 2-A-days to build my endurance, taking daily multivitamins, eating a banana or cereal bar about an hour b/f I run, not eating b/f I run, and even 5-hr energy. I make sure I’m hydrated b/f I run and the only thing I drink is water and sometimes low calorie Gatorade or crystal light. I’ve tried the breathing technique of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, and even chewing gum, but it doesn’t help, I still have to stop for a break when I run. I’m not on any medications and as far as I know, I don’t have asthma. I do have sickle cell trait though, which may not be important. I’ve been in to see a doctor about the issue. They did an EKG which came out normal; he listened to my heart and said it sounds fine. He told me it was normal for my heart rate to get high b/c I’m young. But several co-workers & friends tell me that a heart rate that high is not normal. I’m so frustrated b/c I’ve been working out for years now and still can’t run. I understand that I’m supposed to feel some degree of exhaustion while running, but it seems like I should at least be able to do 1 mile without stopping. Or could it be that I’m just not a good runner and will never be? Sorry this is so long but I wanted to give as much info as I could.

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EmpowHER Guest

Hi, I had a similar issue with running; I could cycle 100 miles in one day, but couldn't run for one minute. This is what solved it: I hypothesized it may have something to do with the up and down 'jumpy' body movement during running, that it may have to do something with my brain getting wrong signals or something. So I started running on a treadmill, first for one minute, 10 km/h only, no inclination, and trying to run as smoothly as possible avoiding that up and down 'jumping', moving my feet as low above the surface as possible, positioned my treadmill in front of a mirror and checked whether my head was jumping or staying relatively on the same level (it's always a little up and down but it's got to be smooth!). After a week I could run for 2 minutes and soon it became 10 minutes and now I can run at 12 km/h for an hour!! I took me a couple of months to get there - after 40 years of hating running :)

May 27, 2016 - 10:23am
EmpowHER Guest

All, I suffered the same thing for years. I'm in the military and physical fitness is part of my job, however, it seemed that no natter how much i worked out or ran, i progressively became slower and slower over time and could not complete 2 miles without stopping. Luckily one day, a smart doctor looked at some blood work that i had done previously and noticed that I had hyperthyroidism, which can cause supraventricular tachycardia, or rapid heart beating. I suggest you see a physician and request to get labs done and have the Dr. review your labs for hyperthyroidism (T3/T4 levels). If you do have this symptom, no amount of running or working out will improve your condition, only medication or surgery. Left untreated could lead to more damage to your heart or other organs. Then after that you can begin your path to improving your cardio.

May 16, 2015 - 12:50pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am about to join the military and Something similar keeps happening to me. It started 3 years ago (my senior year of college) I would be at practice (I played soccer for my university) and all of a sudden it would jump well above 200. I would get light headed for a second and then within seconds it would jump back down to what I was at before it jumped. At first I could never target when it would happen would not happen for months or weeks. And would happen when I wasn't working out at times. Most recently it's only been happening when I workout and for longer periods and more frequently. Could this affect me while I'm in the military?

February 24, 2016 - 2:55pm
EmpowHER Guest

The Running is dependent a lot on the way you breath. These are the things that you MUST do before you get into long distance run:
1/ Warm Up : At Least 20 minutes before you start your run. This helps you to get your muscles into action. They send signal to your heart that they need more blood and your heart warms up too. It is always good to get into a run with a slightly elevated heart rate ( Around 110-120 BPM).

2/ Initial pace should be a tad slower than the normal pace. Assuming you want to do a kilometer in 6 mins, you should look at 6:10 as the starting speed. Remember that the first energy that the body uses is anerobic and then transits to aerobic. Aenerobic energy is provided by the muscles and the latter by the heart. So if you start too fast then you are putting too much load on the heart to transit hence you feel out of breath. Once you have done about 1.5km to 2 km you would get into a rhythm and then you can easily run at your normal pace.

3/ Breathing: Some people love to breath with open mouth ( I Do that All the time). Avoid any kind of chewing gums etc cause you are giving one more exercise to your body, while you should be concentrating totally on running. You need to develop your own breathing technique. You need to breathe in and out along with your strides. So you could do 1-1 ( two strides breath in) 2-2 (two strides breath out). This will help you mentally, your heart, your strides and your breathing into a nice harmonious rhythm. Continue like this and do not alter the breathing pattern as it will affect everything.

4/ Nothing works better than practise: Give yourself a challenge everytime you run. Slow down but do not walk! Eventually you will triumph!

March 20, 2015 - 1:56am
EmpowHER Guest

IV just turned 18 and am very active. I love running and spinning. I allways have a heart rate of over 200 and and very high bloody pressure.when I get a cold or a cough I'm allways in A/E with symptoms of a heart attack. I'm under a cardiologist bi te appoiments just take ages. What do you think is this the norm for my age or not.

January 27, 2015 - 2:45pm
EmpowHER Guest

Im a bit different to you guys, only been going to the gym for a week, every other time my heart rate has not gone over 150, normally sits about 130-140 and last night I checked and it was 200 im 20 weigh 54 kgs I noticed my ears were blocked and I was feeling light headed thats why I checked the heart rate, is that bad that it was about 60 higher than normal?

November 20, 2014 - 6:37pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)


June 3, 2015 - 11:11pm
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

I am concerned that you had a resting heart rate that was 60 beats per minute higher than your normal heart rate. Feeling light headed can indicate a low blood pressure or being volume depleted or dehydrated.


November 21, 2014 - 10:37am
EmpowHER Guest

Hey guys, I'm 23 and experiencing the exact same thing, I use to be very fit up until about 18 when I stopped all sports and going to the gym and pretty much doubled in weight I have been going to the gym for 3 weeks now and focusing on cardio to drop the weight my usual cardio side involves 10mins running, 10-15mins bike, 5mins rowing then weights and before I go I hope back on the treadmill and just last as long as I can which is around 5 mins and then the left side of my chest gets sore, its usually alright to breath but on the odd occasion it hurts like a bastard to the point when u just hold you breath hoping its gone by time you next breath lol. I don't think its so much weight related as I did use to occasionally get it back in the days where I was really fit, never thought to take to much notice of it really my heart rate usually gets up into the 190s but usually still feel fine until chest gets sore that is. I joined the fire brigade out of leaving school and fitness tests were always cut short with me due to heart rate but I always passed due to not looking in any discomfort and looking / feeling like I could have gone much longer they use to stop me at around 170 which would only take a couple mins for me lol. Anyone had this checked out yet to see exactly what it is? I'm currently in a different country so haven't signed up to doctors yet.

October 28, 2014 - 5:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

I suffer from the same thing. When I do mild physics activity my heartrate spikes. The difference between standing and sitting is huge. When I am exercising, my hearyrate is constantly much higher than my max allowable and sometimes my ears feel blocked and it feels like I can hear my hearyrate through my ears.

Has anybody come up with a diagnosis?

October 14, 2014 - 7:14pm
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