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How unfit am i?

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 Snozzwanger 30 Jun 2020

Im a climber, lead an active life thus far at a healthy weight, and overall an average 30 odd year old.

I have smoked since starting high school until my late twenties, so approaching 20 years. I don't smoke now but vape instead and have done for a coupe of years.

Anyway...i have been trying to train pull-ups and i struggle due to getting out of breath and lacking energy rather than lacking power if that makes sense? I thought to remedy this i would start walking up a big hill at the back of my house (Parlick in the Ribble Valley if anyone knows it) and afterwards i was bloody exhausted and felt sick, despite have a couple of short rests.

It took me just over 13 minutes to get to the top.

How unfit am i? I thought at one point at about half way i was going to get overtaken by an OAP who seemed to be charging up behind me at lightening speed!

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 Tom V 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

Some OAPs are bastards for that. They don't seem to understand that  once you get your pension you should start hobbling around like a cripple.

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 Snozzwanger 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Tom V:

She was hobbling like a cripple - just very fast.

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In reply to Snozzwanger:

It'll obviously depend on how fit you were overall, but if shortness of breath is the problem and you wouldn't expect it based on your level of fitness, then it might be worth going to the doc's (once that's allowed again) and discussing whether you may have asthma.  It doesn't always manifest in the form of full "attacks", it's often just shortness of breath alone.

Could of course, as you say, be lack of fitness, but I suspect it is very much underdiagnosed as people just assume it's that.

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 Snozzwanger 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

Hmm interesting. Is there any link between pneumonia and asthma? I have had the former twice as a kid.

Smoking probably hasn't helped.

I am generally a low energy person, diet doesn't seem to make a difference. Sometimes it feels like the life suddenly drains out of me. This happened once whilst i was with my diabetic friend, no amount of glucose or chocolate would shift it, happens quite regular.

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In reply to Snozzwanger:

> Hmm interesting. Is there any link between pneumonia and asthma? I have had the former twice as a kid.

The short answer is yes. People with asthma are more likely to get pneumonia. 

> Smoking probably hasn't helped.

No. The vaping probably isn't great either. My lungs can be pretty sensitive to a range of allergens. I know this much, having working lungs is great and having lungs that aren't working properly sucks. I do my best to look after my lungs. Not even a cheeky bifter these days. 

> I am generally a low energy person, diet doesn't seem to make a difference. Sometimes it feels like the life suddenly drains out of me. This happened once whilst i was with my diabetic friend, no amount of glucose or chocolate would shift it, happens quite regular.

Hmmm... Puzzling. Sounds like a medical professional would be a better source of info than me!

In the meantime, get a rucksack on your back and cover some distance. Keep adding to your aerobic base.  

Good luck - it's worth it!

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 Snozzwanger 30 Jun 2020
In reply to bouldery bits:

Thanks for the reply, if no improvement i will speak to the Doc.

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 Mr Moac 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

Hi Mr Wanger. 

I don't want to scare you but your symptoms sound very like mine a few years ago. Sever shortness of breath when walking up to a crag ( Stanage) or when cycling. Feeling sick and faint, metallic taste in the mouth. You should get your heart checked out. I had my Aortic valve replaced. Although I am twice your age heart disease can happen to anyone at any age. I hope for you its not Aortic Stenosis but you should look into it.  Romping uphill with a sack on your back is the last thing you should doing  untill you have had your heart examined.

Post edited at 22:52
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 girlymonkey 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

Fitness is activity specific, so if you are climbing fit then walking up hill with a big rucksack is irrelevant unless you regularly do that too. It is a good way of building leg strength and aerobic fitness if you keep doing it, but is not an indicator of current fitness if it is an unusual exercise for you. 

And you should always be wary of those with grey hair on the hills. Grey hair = hard as nails!

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 La benya 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

You're unfit. Stop vaping.

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 Snozzwanger 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Mr Moac:

Evening Mr Moac - thanks, i have had heart issues, well chest pain which was suspected pericarditis. 

Girlymonkey - agreed, hard as nails! Ive worked as a groundworker for the past 15 years and the bloke i work with is twice my age and i struggle (cant) keep up with him. Quite impressive.

Cardio is unusual for me in that i have never really done it. I have spent alot of time in the gym over the years, weightlifting etc. But any exercise that requires a lot of energy ie; compound movements i have always struggled with.

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 Snozzwanger 30 Jun 2020
In reply to La benya:

Yes. No.

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 girlymonkey 30 Jun 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

> Cardio is unusual for me in that i have never really done it. I have spent alot of time in the gym over the years, weightlifting etc. But any exercise that requires a lot of energy ie; compound movements i have always struggled with.

So it's not to say that the potential problems highlighted above aren't likely, but that cardio isn't a good measure of your current fitness if you haven't trained it. You could be a super fit weightlifter but unable to run for the bus. 

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In reply to Mr Moac:

> Hi Mr Wanger. 

> I don't want to scare you but your symptoms sound very like mine a few years ago. Sever shortness of breath when walking up to a crag ( Stanage) or when cycling. Feeling sick and faint, metallic taste in the mouth. You should get your heart checked out. I had my Aortic valve replaced. Although I am twice your age heart disease can happen to anyone at any age. I hope for you its not Aortic Stenosis but you should look into it.  Romping uphill with a sack on your back is the last thing you should doing  untill you have had your heart examined.

Great point!

Please ignore my advice until an MOT from the doc.

Stay safe,

BB

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In reply to Snozzwanger:

> Anyway...i have been trying to train pull-ups and i struggle due to getting out of breath and lacking energy rather than lacking power if that makes sense?

That's not usual.  Pull-ups should be limited by your arm muscles long before shortness of breath becomes a problem.   Your lungs/heart need to support your leg muscles which are far more powerful.

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In reply to Snozzwanger:

You're probably just unfit but speak to your doc to clear your mind. Mention your previous heart condition when you call.

*lots of folk get out of breath when weight training or doing gym exercises because they forget to breath enough! They are so focussed on the reps, teeth clenched, mouth tight shut straining away... then they finally fail and make gasps for air. 

Fitness is relative to the sport..  fit for purpose. You could be a fit shot putter but your marathon time would be rubbish. 

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 Stuart William 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> ...then it might be worth going to the doc's (once that's allowed again)

 Just for clarity, at no point have GP surgeries been closed due to Covid. If you think you have a health issue, book a GP appointment. They are working differently but they are still open  

DO NOT wait for Covid to be “over” before seeking medical care. 

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 La benya 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

Ah I remember that mentality from being addicted to smoking. 

Actually the thing that got me to stop was getting overtaken by a fat person on the walk up to a crag in kalymnos. Never smoked again after that. 

You make your choices. You're clearly concerned with being unfit. But you don't want to stop inhaling hot chemicals. It's your funeral. 

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 Dogwatch 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger: Get a blood test. If your aerobic endurance is well below what you might expect from your lifestyle, there are various possible medical issues you at least ought to get ruled out. Anaemia is one. GPs are still doing blood tests.

Post edited at 08:37
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 Snozzwanger 01 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

Give it a rest. I vape because the alternative is 30 marlborough's everyday. I have 'quit' multiple times without the aid of an e-cig and have always ended back up on the cigarettes, so far the e-cig is keeping me off them.

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 La benya 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

You ask opinions on your fitness. You know the answer. You're unfit because you vape.

I agree it's probably better than smoking and there is no point in quitting if you don't have the right motivation. If know you will be dying early isn't enough, then find what will Motivate you. For me it was being outpaced by an obese lady. That was unacceptable as a 22 year old. 

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 C Witter 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

I'd echo other's advice to see a doctor if you're worried, because most of us aren't doctors (possibly one or two are!). But, maybe you're just being hard on yourself? I think it's quite normal to feel exhausted and even sick if you belt up a hill as a fast as you can. If I'm trying to keep pace with Bob Graham round compleationist friends, going too fast, I end up feeling like a rag doll pretty quickly. Sometimes it's important just to recognise you're not as fit, strong, or whatever, as you'd like to be, and then to take the time it needs to build that up.

By the by, I quit smoking about 5 years ago having started at school and have never looked back. I tried vaping, but the chemicals in it gave me head cold-like symptoms. Smoking was tied to some kind of Lou Reed bohemian ideal I was trying to emulate, but eventually everyone else had packed it in and they were doing 60-odd mile runs and pacing away on Scottish winter trips. I decided being able to do those things well and comfortably was preferable to carrying on stubbornly smoking on my own.

p.s. reading comments above: not trying to give you a hard time on the smoking front. Actually, I failed to quit a few times when others were involved and only managed when it was something I wanted to do and didn't even tell anyone about it. I'm not sure all the moralising of the issue is very helpful to anyone.

Post edited at 08:55
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In reply to Snozzwanger:

Have you tried measuring your fitness with simple tests? Finding your maximum heart rate, rate of recovery and resting heart rate could indicate your level of fitness in a general sense compared to the average for people your age. You will be quite unfit if you haven't done any cardio recently. If you're just climbing at roadside crags/indoors, I'd say that doesn't really count as cardio?

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 Dave Cundy 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

Back in the 90s, i seemed to spend half my life walking up Parlick with my paraglider on my back.  I can't remember the exact time, from the gate by the house, to the wall and track across the west face but 12 mins sounds about right.  With a paraglider, though.

Although short, it's quite steep, so you're going to need some oxygen in your lungs.  Along with the medical suggestions above, try walking up a bit more slowly, at a pace you can manage all the way to the top.  You might find you've been going at it too quickly and then blowing up!

Post edited at 08:59
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 ianstevens 01 Jul 2020
In reply to C Witter:

> I'd echo other's advice to see a doctor if you're worried, because most of us aren't doctors (possibly one or two are!). But, maybe you're just being hard on yourself? I think it's quite normal to feel exhausted and even sick if you belt up a hill as a fast as you can. If I'm trying to keep pace with Bob Graham round compleationist friends, going too fast, I end up feeling like a rag doll pretty quickly. Sometimes it's important just to recognise you're not as fit, strong, or whatever, as you'd like to be, and then to take the time it needs to build that up.

> By the by, I quit smoking about 5 years ago having started at school and have never looked back. I tried vaping, but the chemicals in it gave me head cold-like symptoms. Smoking was tied to some kind of Lou Reed bohemian ideal I was trying to emulate, but eventually everyone else had packed it in and they were doing 60-odd mile runs and pacing away on Scottish winter trips. I decided being able to do those things well and comfortably was preferable to carrying on stubbornly smoking on my own.

> p.s. reading comments above: not trying to give you a hard time on the smoking front. Actually, I failed to quit a few times when others were involved and only managed when it was something I wanted to do and didn't even tell anyone about it. I'm not sure all the moralising of the issue is very helpful to anyone.

It's not really moralising though is it? I have no experience of quitting smoking so can't add anything there, but rather an objective look at things. If you want to get fitter and there is something obvious stopping you, then stop doing it. If you smoke/vape/whatever mechanism you directly channel hot air to your respiratory system, it will affect your cardio fitness. If your aim is to improve your CV fitness and you make, stop. If your aim is to improve your CV fitness and you don't train it, start training it. Neither of these are moralising as to what is objectively good/bad, more achievable and measurable tips.

If you enjoy smoking et al. more than you enjoy being able to smash up hills, just own it and be honest. That's okay to do, each to their own, but you need to be honest with yourself. A lesser example - I'd like to weigh a bit less. But I also really like cake. I like cake more than I want to weigh less, so accept that's the case and get on with my life. However, it sounds like the OP is not okay with their lack of fitness, and people are offering a sensible suggestion that will help. That's not moralising!

n.b. stop may not mean cold turkey. Start may not mean going and running 100 km a week. There's a progression. 

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 Sans-Plan 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

> How unfit am i? 

Very.

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 deepsoup 01 Jul 2020
In reply to sharpendadventures:

> Finding your maximum heart rate..

Could prove fatal in the (fairly unlikely) event that the OP has a heart condition. 

You know how all the disclaimers say to 'consult your physician' first?  That's a good idea in this case.  The bleep test can wait.

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 leon 1 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger: FFS go to your doctors SOON and dont be embarrassed about discussing it with them. There are probably only a couple of people on this forum qualified to diagnose whether you`re just unfit or whether theres an underlying problem and they're not going to make an anonymous diagnosis on here (I hope)

All other suggestions are just voodoo

For what its worth, and its probably very little, I had symptoms similar to yours and Mr Moac and it was also a heart problem, (blocked artery) I had a stent and it was like having a GTI fitted

Go To Your Doctors ASAP and until then dont try to bust a gut proving what a man you are in case you do  

Good luck with it

Post edited at 10:15
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In reply to deepsoup:

Fair point. Should have inserted a disclaimer!

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 Eric9Points 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

Get checked out by the doc and if you're OK start doing aerobic excercise like walking up hills, running or cycling. Do it several times a week.

Weight training, rock climbing, the stuff that makes your muscles strong doesn't do much for your heart and lungs. 

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 Dogwatch 01 Jul 2020
In reply to leon 1:

> All other suggestions are just voodoo

Is that so? How do you know the life experiences people have had that led them to make those suggestions?  

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In reply to La benya:

>  For me it was being outpaced by an obese lady. That was unacceptable as a 22 year old. 

Blimey, failing at 'pull a pig' night must've been a real kick up the arse!

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 leon 1 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Dogwatch: And yet we both agree that the OP should be checked over by a GP 

If you read my post I gave my personal circumstances and why I thought that it would be a good idea that the OP should go to a GP.

You, however just said that it could be anemia without really saying how or why you arrived at that diagnosis. Perhaps you have experience of anemia or you are a doctor?  You didnt give your 'life experience' background. GP or not GP that is the question, however I dont really care as I cant be arsed arguing with you about it.

To the OP please go and get yourself checked by a GP sooner rather than later.

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 C Witter 01 Jul 2020
In reply to ianstevens:

With respect, even pointing out that "it is the obvious, logical thing to do" can feel like a way of saying "you're an idiot not to" when it comes to our personal weaknesses. E.g. I can procrastinate to hell (case in point) and then get stressed about being behind. Telling me: "well, the logical thing to do is to crack on with work" is not going to help, even if it's true (as much as my partner tries that tactic!) ;)

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 Snozzwanger 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Dave Cundy:

Just the sort of reply i was after, thanks.

To the others:

My resting heart rate is 64 bpm. Body fat % probably low teens, and blood pressure excellent apparently. 

I have no intentions of stopping vaping at the minute, id rather do that than stop so i can 'smash' up a hill. I am fully aware of the possible harmful effects it may or may not be causing. Trust me it is a world better than chain-smoking analogue cigarettes. Which as it happens i am quite proud i don't have to rely on anymore. Well done to those that have quit for good, hope you are enjoying the view. Not an excuse, but i live with two heavy smokers, so quitting all together is simply impossible - im happy with where i am at, for now.

I agree, i am probably just unfit - as i have never actually trained it. Will check with the Doc though.

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 BuzyG 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

If you are walking from Blindhurtst, then that's 310m climb of  1km, in 13mins.  Nay Smiths rule on walking Highlands has that at a 34minute route.   Obviously I don't know your start point.  Try it your self and stop worrying about it, sounds like your a bit unfit and pushed your self.  Feeling out of breath and sick is perfectly normal after a really hard work out.   As for the old lady, I know a number of 70+ year old folk who can still give a slightly unfit 30 something a drubbing walking up hills.

If this is something new. Then a word with your GP can do no harm. Only you know how you normally feel.

Post edited at 19:42
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 Mr Moac 01 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

> Just the sort of reply i was after, thanks.

> To the others:

> My resting heart rate is 64 bpm. Body fat % probably low teens, and blood pressure excellent 

The above are irrelevant as they are all at rest. My resting heart rate was 58. Body fat 16/17%. B.P normal. Oxygen depletion due to a heart condition will only become apparent when indulging in a high aerobic activity as the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the demand. So you pass out.  If the heart valve fails under the strain you die. See a cardiologist ASAP insist on having an echocardiogram. I am not being over dramatic when I say you could have a life threatening condition 

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 Lankyman 02 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

Parlick's a great little hill and far too good to be rushed up like it would seem you've done? There are tracks that zigzag rather than blast straight up the front. A better and more enjoyable way to lasting fitness is to plan for a more interesting walk. Something with a purpose other than just pure exercise? My older brother is obese purely because he sees walking as just exercise and can't see any enjoyment in it. Take Parlick. My last walk there was last year when we parked at the foot but headed east on footpaths below the hill. We then turned north  up onto Saddle Fell, west to Fair Snape then south along the ridge to Parlick. That just left the steepest slope to descend back to the car and a pint in Chipping. Probably 7 or 8 miles and far more enjoyable than a crippling slog up/down the front of Parlick. Probably more useful exercise too (beer excepted!). Get the Bowland OL 41 map and maybe the Paul Hannon guide? Nicky Nook is great little walk too - went up several times in lockdown as I can do it from home. Good luck and have fun whatever exercise you do.

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In reply to Mr Moac:

Undiagnosed heart conditions must cause a decent proportion of deaths in the 'young', it seems crazy not to test for them. I personally know one that died, one who almost had a fatal incident diving, and another whose problem was picked up before he had a fatal diving incident.

to Snozzwanger - a friend of mine recently found herself unfit and generally tired.  She has now been diagnosed with some sort of heart condition and is awaiting detailed testing to find out what the problem is.  This is a person who used to crack out 100 pressups without any problem.  Go have tests (and tell us the result 'cos we're curious).

Post edited at 12:43
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 Timmd 03 Jul 2020
In reply to Snozzwanger:

> Give it a rest. I vape because the alternative is 30 marlborough's everyday. I have 'quit' multiple times without the aid of an e-cig and have always ended back up on the cigarettes, so far the e-cig is keeping me off them.

As an ex smoker myself, vaping has got to be better, so good work on that, the last I heard vaping may cause certain lung & breathing issues too, but it's about steps towards an end goal in the end.

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 Timmd 03 Jul 2020
In reply to Toerag:

> >  For me it was being outpaced by an obese lady. That was unacceptable as a 22 year old. 

> Blimey, failing at 'pull a pig' night must've been a real kick up the arse!

Anybody who actually does do the 'pull a pig' thing in real life, is absolutely horrible.

Post edited at 02:04
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