Is Your Exercise Improving Your Heart Health?
Posted: February 17, 2016
With February being Heart Health Awareness Month, we’re reminded to pay attention to all the things that impact our heart health. Being busy Americans, we may not put too much thought into this on a regular basis. We get caught up in the daily hustle, and among all that, we might exercise a few days and week and think, GREAT, I'm healthy! But, is our exercise routine improving our heart health? In this latest blog post, our Fitness Expert, Logan, from the 2nd Wind Store in Ankeny, Iowa, suggest we follow this simple series of measurements that we can then analyze to evaluate our heart health. Read on for Logan's suggestions... Generally speaking, most exercise participants consider cardiovascular benefits to be an important reason to maintain an exercise program. The real question becomes, “Is my exercise routine improving my heart health?” In order to answer that question, a series of measurements need to be analyzed and evaluated to provide evidence of improvement. Resting heart rate, blood pressure, and heart rate recovery are important factors that indicate heart health. Resting heart rate can be a very simple indicator of current heart health. It doesn’t require any special instruments, and can be taken daily to provide a more accurate picture of heart health. To measure your resting heart rate, simply find a pulse first thing in the morning and measure the amount of beats for 15 seconds. Multiply by 4 to find your resting beats per minute. If done daily, averaging the numbers for a week could provide a better idea of current resting heart rate. Blood pressure is often noted as a key measurement for general health and is nearly unavoidable in any medical setting. Blood pressure, either high or low, can be a symptom of a multitude of causes. Monitoring blood pressure on your own can be a bit more difficult than finding your heart rate, considering it typically requires additional instruments. There are many places however, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, which offer machines to test your blood pressure for free. Because many factors can affect blood pressure, it is recommended to check routinely to monitor low or high blood pressure readings. The final statistic you may want to consider monitoring for your heart health is your heart rate recovery time, or HRR. This number refers to the amount of time it requires for your heart rate to return to normal or resting heart rate after activities. In terms of application, this is typically most noticeable when changes occur in cardiovascular health. The best way to describe heart rate recovery time is to think of briskly climbing a few flights of stairs. How long does it take for your heart rate to return to a comfortable resting rate? This is often an easy assessment and sometimes doesn’t even require actual measurements. More often than not, individuals who are sedentary in their careers have a higher time of recovery due to their heart’s acclimation to being in a continuous resting state and rarely increased throughout the day. Exercise can decrease the amount of time required to return to a comfortable heart rate. If you have any questions for Logan regarding these measurements, or need advice on how you can incorporate exercises to help improve your heart health, please leave a comment below?