Confused by my Heart Rate During a Brisk Walk


Formerly Cuberant
Aug 8, 2016
I try to walk 4 miles every day during the week plus hopefully something longer or some real trail miles on the weekends. At 61 years of age I have always wondered if I am pushing my heart rate too high. Today I took a hike up some local trails followed by a few miles around town. I brought along my wife's pulse/ox meter to take some readings.

While climbing some steep trail at a forced pace I measured 148-152 bpm and 95% ox sat. This was reassuring as my max heart rate calculation comes out to 220 - 61 = 159, so I'm in the right range there. Once down off the mountain I continued my workout on level surface streets around town. In an attempt to get a good cardio workout I aim for 14-15 minutes per mile and indeed my respiration is generally increased to the point of having to breath through my mouth. Taking my pulse after about a mile of this I got 82 bpm and 88% sat. I was totally surprised my heart rate was that low and the lower o2 saturation at that workout level. I generally have a high-ish at-rest heart rate around 75-78 bpm so I was hardly running higher that my at-rest norm.

I'm thinking that having a low-sh heart rate during a brisk walk is a good thing but I am still surprised it was that low. Does this seem normal to you all? I'd especially love to hear from someone in the medical field chime in.


Mar 3, 2013
Lower.......less stress. Sat measures level carried in blood. . It doesn't decide what is you sat.... A CO poisoned person can register 100% sat... But it's not O2. I take the USFS pack test every year, I'm 67.... Breath thru mouth. Not uncommon as you get more air .. never have measured bp tho... Personally I'd be happy with a low BP...


New Member
Mar 10, 2019
Hey. This is anecdotal but I have noticed that often after a spiking interval, my bpm goes lower when I ease off than it was prior.

My assumption is that the body has some efficiencies there... Maybe profits off the exertion just prior.

May be nothing, but that's what I attribute that to.



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Oct 30, 2016
Bunch of random datapoints from a non-Dr.

If you aren't wearing a chest strap, I'd take any wristwatch heart rate measurements with a big grain of salt.

Here is me zombie walking behind my wife this afternoon, measurements taken off a watch that costs more than the monthly payment on my truck. The readings bounce between 84 and 146 bpm which is ridiculous.

Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 4.21.20 PM.jpg

Hydration also plays a large role. Here is a run at a slow steady pace, readings between 90 and 172 bpm. You can see cardiac drift occurring as the readings trend higher the longer I exert myself without any fluid intake. This was a sub-freezing run. The effect is more drastic when it is warm and I'm sweating a lot.

Screen Shot 2020-04-18 at 4.29.30 PM.jpg

My resting heart rate even in my current ski-partying-recovery state is 52bpm and I have to be careful getting up too fast or get light headed to the point of nearly passing out. Looking at a couple archives of walking the dog at a 22min/mile pace recently, average bpm is recorded as 95 bpm. Again the watch readings have to be taken with a grain of salt, but still a 43 bpm difference from resting to walking at a snails pace is quite a bit more than the 4-7 bpm increase you noticed on your walk around town at a much more brisk pace.

I wouldn't worry about pushing your heart too hard. If you are exerting to the point where you are gasping for air, that is the point to be concerned.

Check with a Dr though if you have other reasons to be worried about it.

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