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Why You Should Be Playing with Heart Rate Recovery (HRR)

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One way to measure your level of fitness is to utilize a technique called Heart Rate Recovery (HRR). The idea is simple.

  • Exercise
  • Stop
  • Note your heart rate
  • Rest for two minutes
  • Note your heart rate (again)

We are interested in heart rate because it’s easy to monitor. We can build hardware to do this. There are also wrist and chest straps that allow us to get precise measurements of our heart rate. The data tells us a story.

The interesting number here is to subtract your exercise heart rate from your rested two minute heart rate. The difference between the two indicates your biological age versus your calendar age. The faster your heart recovers the better condition your body is in.

  • <22:  biological age is slightly older than calendar age
  • 22-52:  biological age is about the same as calendar age
  • 53-58:  biological age is slightly younger than calendar age.
  • 59-65:  biological age is moderately younger than calendar age.
  • >66:  biological age is a lot younger than your calendar age

I scored a 43 in the first minute and dropped only 6 more beats during the second minute. My test was to run three miles wearing a Wahoo TICKR chest strap at 60% effort. I then monitored the first and second minute of recovery using an app on my iPhone called iSmoothRun. A score of 49 puts me at a biological age and calendar age being a match.

I would try not to get hung up on the number ranges here. Instead focus on improvement. It also seems unnecessary to measure the second minute as the first minute is the real significant drop.

How well do you score when using HRR?

Sources:

Improve Heart Health by Knowing Your Recovery Heart Rate


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