AN elderly pensioner has stunned doctors by recording the world’s slowest ever heart rate – lower than that of Olympic athletes and even an elephant.
Daniel Green, 81, could not believe it when doctors told him his heart rate had dropped to just 26 beats per minute (bpm), which is slower than even cycling hero Sir Bradley Wiggins’ at rest.
Exercise enthusiast Mr Green was having a regular check-up when doctors realised his resting rate was 36bpm, before it then dropped to 26bpm and officially lower than the world record.
The remarkable pensioner said: “I couldn’t believe it when the doctors told me. I suppose your heart rate isn’t something anyone ever really notices.
“I was put forward for the 24-hour scan after my GP was alarmed by a 15-second ECG he gave me. But there’s nothing to worry about – I’m still in fine fettle.
“I go for hour-long walks every morning and do some light exercise with weights and a cross-trainer at least three times a week.
“They tell me an elephant has a heart rate of just 28 beats per minute, so I suppose I’m as healthy as an elephant, although I don’t know too many personally.” I suppose I’m as healthy as an elephant, although I don’t know too many personally
The official Guinness World Record for the lowest resting heart beat is 27bpm, held by Martin Brady, 45, of Guernsey.
Current record holder Mr Brady took the title from five-time Tour De France winner Miguel Indurain, whose resting pulse got to as low as 28bpm.
The average adult male heart beats at 72bpm – ranging from around 60bpm to 100bpm depending on activity rate.
Mr Green, a dad of two, exercises daily and has not been to hospital since 1976 when he had a hernia operation.
Mr Green started his keep-fit training when he was just 16 years ago, because he felt he was too “skinny” and wanted to be tougher, so began lifting weights.
“In those days, nobody really did any running, people said that’s how you lost muscle, and I didn’t want that,” he added.
Mr Green, who lives with wife Wendy in Epsom, Surrey, was a physical training instructor for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during his National Service.
He took up running in his thirties and has completed three marathons, including the second ever London Marathon.
He said: “I keep fit because I enjoy it. Under normal circumstances, a heart rate as low as mine would cause symptoms such as breathlessness, dizziness and fainting and it wouldn’t be very good.
“A cardiologist told me I had Absolute Bradycardia – that’s where your heart beats less than 40 times every minute.”
Blue whales have the slowest heart rate in the animal kingdom, beating just six times a minute, while the Blue-throated Hummingbird’s heart flutters a whopping 1260 times per minute.
Despite holding a potential record-beating heart rate, Mr Green is not bothered about being recognised.
He said: “I’ve contacted Guinness but at the moment I don’t think I want to do it. Maybe one day, but it seems like a bit of a faff.
“Also, I’d be so excited my heart might start racing, which wouldn’t be too good for the record attempt.”