Heart Rates, Heart Attacks and Hunting
Research from Slippery Rock University unveiled heightened risk of heart attack for some hunters when transporting their kill out of the woods.
Participants in the study dragged a 123-pound fake deer a quarter mile while wearing heart-rate monitors in a simulated hunting scenario. The participants’ heart rates spiked to more than 85% of their max, considered high-intensity exercise, in little more than 2 ½ minutes.
Study author Steve Verba, PH.D., notes THAT THE SPIKE CAN BE A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM because hunters generally don’t have any warm-up period before they get to work, which is necessary to gradually increase heart rate and avoid dangerous spikes.
“We get into this idea of cardiac irritability—where demand outpaces the supply—and the heart has a very hard time delivering blood and removing waste,” Verba says. “If the heart rate and demand were so high right out of the gate, that’s generally where we can see a precursor to things like heart attack.”
IF THE HUNTER IS AFIELD IN THE WINTERTIME, COLD TEMPERATURES, IN ADDITION TO THE ADRENALINE SPIKES that come for the excitement of the chase can further increase heart rate and risk for heart attack. Sedentary people are at even greater risk.
Since warm-ups during the thick of the hunt aren’t generally a reasonable option, Verba suggests taking frequent breaks from dragging game from the woods. If you can, have a friend help you drag the animal to your vehicle.