These two simple tests with a heart monitor could warn you of a potential cardiac issues.
Most people who exercise expect cardiovascular and other benefits, but sometimes this does not happen, or worse, the risks increase. Many are familiar with their heart rates but are unaware this data may be helpful in assessing cardiac risk. This is something everyone should be aware of when you consider rates of heart attacks in athletes may be the same as those in sedentary individuals.
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With one goal being disease-prevention, we all wish to build a high-performance heart to help us power through our busy days and our workouts.
From a practical standpoint, most users will not perform standard exercise stress tests in a laboratory, but simple assessments in a best-case scenario may help evaluate low, moderate and high risk for cardiac stress. Two key heart-rate measurements you can do on your own represent some of the most important and accurate evaluations for active and inactive people alike. These simple autonomic markers for cardiac stress (and mortality) are resting heart rate and heart rate recovery.
Some still use the pulse test to estimate their heart rate, while others use the more-accurate and traditional chest strap, ear monitors or other tracking devices. Multiple evaluations, perhaps a minimum of three, can be used to estimate risk. Ongoing evaluations assess improvement.
Regardless of the means of collection, data from these rates could potentially save your life.
Resting heart rate is the most easily obtained, and can generally estimate cardiac and mortality risk. Consider the following are numbers:
Low risk — resting HR less than 70 bpm.
Moderate risk — resting HR between 70 and 75.
High risk — above 75. (Recommend seeing a health practitioner.)
Heart rate recovery (HRR) is how quickly your heart rate normalizes following exertion. This can be measured during exercise (after warming up and before the onset of a cool down), such as starting at your MAF HR. Stop after one measured minute of inactivity while standing or maintaining other exercise positions, then read the recovery HR. HRR is the difference between the two numbers.
Using this HRR the following categories offer estimated risks:
Low risk — Decrease of over 30 bpm.*
Moderate risk — Decrease of 25 to 30.
High risk — Decrease of less than 25. (Recommend seeing a health practitioner.)
* A decrease of more than 30 beats is not necessarily better. Chronically overtrained athletes sometimes have autonomic imbalance where HRR decreases more than ~35 bpm, and resting HR is excessively low.
Many athletes and regular exercise enthusiasts know the value of heart rate data in their training programs, including measuring progress, or ensuring you’re burning body fat, but few realize these number can also be helpful in assessing cardiac risk. Resting heart rate and heart rate recovery are two simple methods you can use to assess your risk and they might even save your life.
Other information regarding heart rate, exercise and your health: