Resting Heart Rate and Your Fitness Level
Measuring your resting heart rate can be a good gauge of your fitness level. Generally, the lower your heart rate is at rest, the more efficient your heart is during exercise.
Take a run for example. As you begin to pick up pace, your heart has to work harder and pump faster. A stronger, more efficient heart will push more blood with less effort (less beats per minute). Additionally, it can sustain this high activity for longer periods of time.
Think of a sports car that can hit high speeds without forcing the engine to work too hard. A strong heart works like an engine, delivering oxygen rich blood to your working muscles. This blood pumping process is the foundation of all activity, ranging from olympic swimming to squats in a gym.
American Heart Association (AHA) Recommendation
For overall cardiovascular health the AHA Suggests these activities:
1) At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes.
2) At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.
Source: American Heart Association
Jogging, Swimming, Outdoor Biking, Indoor Biking, Tennis, Basketball, Soccer, Football, Jumping Rope, Boxing, Kickboxing, Circuit Training, Aerobics Class, Dance Class, Zumba, Interval Sprinting, Speed Walking, Elliptical, Stair-Climbing.
It's important to know that resting heart rate is only one way to determine fitness level. It can also be affected by medication or illness. So if you have concerns about your heart, please contact your doctor.
Determine your fitness level with the charts below.