PCOS Girl Has Elevated Heart Rate

by Elisabeth
(Long island City, NY, USA)

Hi Gemma,

I'm also a PCOS girl who loves to exercise. I work out about 5 times a week with about 30 minutes of cardio each session (bike, elliptical or treadmill walking on an incline) and strength training upper and lower body about 30 minutes 3 times a week.

During my sessions, my heart rate drops quickly once I stop exercise. Thanks to my polar heart rate monitor, I know that I can go from 160 to 120 in a minute.

I've recently started biking outdoors about 8 miles in 2 hours last weekend and 14 miles in 4 hours this weekend.

I've noticed that my heart rate stays elevated even after having ceased biking for a while. While biking it averages 140-150 and occasionally rises to around 190 when I have hills to climb.

After sitting still and having stopped biking for over 5 minutes, I noticed that my heart rate is still at 140.

What's going on here?


Hi Elisabeth,

Sorry to be so slow in responding!

First of all, congrats on exercising! Regular exercise, and increased exercise, is fundamental to getting PCOS under control. Truly fundamental and necessary.

Gemma has been away for some time but will return soon. She is working on a special fitness course for women with PCOS.

I'm not an exercise expert at all, but a 30 minute indoor program is completely different from a long distance biking for 4 hours. My hunch is that the longer you do cardio exercise, the longer it takes to recover. If you were work on a treadmill or elliptical for 4 hours, you might also see and elevated heart rate for a while during recovery.

Just guessing, but long-term exercise will deplete your supply of glucose and your body will then have to switch over to burning fat, which is a less efficient method of producing energy.

Since glucose is fuel for the brain, and since glucose is delivered to the brain area by the blood system, it's possible the heart is working harder to try to deliver glucose to the brain.

Secondly, the body is somewhat depleted and out of balance after 4 hours of exercise. There is an accumulation of waste products that take some time to be eliminated. Possibly this condition makes the heart work a little harder.

Thirdly, I recall reading somewhere that a long bout of exercise might temporarily raise cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Stress hormones are capable of increasing heart rate.

These are just my speculations. I haven't had time to investigate this. Does anyone else have a better answer to share here?


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