Heart rate recovery is a great way to assess your fitness level; the quicker your heart rate recovers, the more fit your heart and body is.
Heart rate recovery is a measure of how quickly your heart rate goes down after intense exercise, usually measured at one, two and three minute intervals following exercise.
To get a good measure of heart rate recovery, it’s important that you get your heart rate nice and high first of all by exercising as hard and as fast as you can for a couple of minutes. You should then check your heart rate as soon as you stop exercising and then again after 1 minute and 2 minutes.
So, today’s challenge is to test this and see for yourself. As always, make sure you do a 3-4 minute warm up before getting in to the test itself.
For this, you will either need a friend to time you and record your pulse or a fitness tracker that you trust is accurate. You will also need a stop watch or timer.
1. 2 minutes of non-stop jumping jacks. (if you’re unsure on these, scroll down for a demo)
2. Stop and sit down on a comfortable chair.
3. Measure your heart rate straight away (if you’re doing this manually with fingers on your wrist or neck, count for 30 seconds and then double it)
4. 1 minute after you finishing exercising, check your heart rate again
5. 2 minutes after you finishing exercising, check your heart rate again
Write all 3 results down and work out how much your pulse drops by each time.
Heart rate immediately on finishing the exercise - 133
Heart rate 1 minute after finishing exercise - 117 (reduction of 16)
Heart rate 2 minutes after finishing exercise - 99 (reduction of 18)
Based on the above, my average reduction was around 17 beats per minute.
Jumping Jack Demo
So, what’s a good heart rate recovery?
Research from the New England Journal of Medicine found that heart rate recovery of 15-20 beats per minute after one minute of rest was considered about average for heart health and anything faster than that was considered to be good heart health. What was yours? If you’re feeling clever and fancy some maths, then try the following equation to give you a rough idea of your fitness level.
Time spent exercising in seconds x 100 divided by the sum of all three heart rates 🤔
Using the example above this would be:
2 minutes exercise = 120 seconds (multiplied x 100) = 12,000
Sum of all 3 heart rates (133+117+99) = 349
12,000 divided by 349 = 34.3
What score did you get? Don’t worry if it’s not quite what you hoped for, there’s lots you can do to improve this - starting with joining our Facebook Isolation Group and taking part in some of our online sessions. These run every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
In addition to this, have a look through our other blogs on the website. We have lots of fitness workouts you can do from home and some other fitness challenges you can do to see how you compare.
When the lockdown is over and we are back up and running, we also offer a full 20-point health check, one part of which includes your resting and recovery heart rate as well as flexibility, BMI, body fat, visceral fat, lung capacity and much much more. Get in touch if this is something you are interested in - knowing how healthy you are today can be really useful when it comes to focussing your mind on getting fit for tomorrow.
Until next time, stay fit, strong, healthy and safe.