Thursday, August 13, 2009

Heart Rate Recovery (HRR)

Heart Rate Recovery (HRR) is a measurement of how much the heart rate falls during the first minute after peak exercise. It is routinely measured during millions of exercise tests every year. Doctors usually order these tests when they suspect that a patient may have a heart in trouble.
Patients are put on a treadmill and exercise to the point that they can't go on. It is then that the heart rate recovery is taken. Afterward, it's added to the picture created by how long the person can exercise and what the heart rate was doing during the exercise test. This big picture can give doctors a pretty accurate idea of how well the heart is working.
The healthier a person's heart is, the quicker it returns to its normal beat; the less healthy the heart is, the longer it takes it to recover.

You can do the same test on your bike or cycling ergometer. Not necessarily to see if you have a bad ticker or not (I hope you don't) but to observe your fitness level over time- to see if it's improving..especially at a given intensity. You can do this test with your Heart Rate Monitor at different exercise levels/zones to see what your recovery is. I've performed a test the other day at 75% of my HRmax for 20 minutes. At 75% of HRmax my HRR=60 bpm after 1 minute. I was really surprised it was that high- which is a good thing. Another day I'll do the same test at 100% HRmax (for 3-5 minutes if I can hold it that long) to compare results after 1 minute.

Recovery Rate Numbers:

< 20 bpm=" poor"
20- 29=" fair"
30- 39=" good"
40- 59=" excellent"
> 60 bpm= "outstanding"

PLEASE DO NOT perform any of these tests without first consulting your doctor and/or getting a complete physical examination. Also, DO NOT do these tests alone or without contacting someone first.

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