Q. Is it possible to have decreased heart rate due to sports activity?

Answered by
Dr. Salam Salloum
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 29, 2018

Hello doctor,

I am male, 35 years old and weight 70 kilos, height 173 cm. Every year I do a medical checkup. In a recent medical check-up, there was a note related to heart rate (bradycardia), the result was 49 bpm. I also have checked manually and also using pulse meter, the result around 51 to 55 bpm. In the last eight months, I do morning run three times a week (30 minutes). Actually previously instead of running, I also have done sports exercise (static bike) with the same intensity. One thing that differs with the previous conditon is I lost 8 kilos (in 7 to 8 months time). There is no symptom related to my health, instead, I feel comfortable and fit. I have consulted with the cardiologist and he said it was okay as long as I do not feel any symptom (faint, dizzy, etc). But the doctor quite worried regarding the heart rate at night since based on ECG result (using Holter monitor for a full day), it showed the heart rate plunged to 35 bpm at night (sleeping). The doctor gave me Terbutaline sulfate, with a low dosage (two times a day at 2.5 mg).

My question is whether bradycardia is related to my sports activity? Does it relate to my weight loss? Is there any reference related to normal heart rate for atheletes (with sports heart) when sleeping at night?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

It is quite common and normal for regular athletes to have sinus bradycardia, I saw some with heart rate down to 40 to 45 bpm daytime. At night usually, the HR is slower and it can get down to 35 bpm. As long as you remain asymptomatic that is no lightheadedness and no fainting or collapses, then no further action is required. It is not related to weight loss which could be secondary to increased physical activity and exercises. If weight loss is not deliberate, then this needs to be investigated. Weight loss and bradycardia could be seen in malnutrition patients and people with severe depression sometimes. I do not think it is the case here as you do regular exercise which is a good sign. Please be assured.

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