Are You Really Fit?

really fit
Most of us have a "blind spot" when it comes to our fitness level unless the evidence is too obvious. Numerous persons have an unrealistic view of their health status. For some people it comes easily and naturally. But legions of people do a little exercise and think they are superfit.To see how you rate, try the tests below.

Test 1: Resting Heart Rate

Your resting heart rate or pulse is the number of heartbeats per minute. Fit people have regular and lower pulse rates. Take your pulse first thing in the morning. Any physical work or emotional distress increases it. Women have slightly higher pulse rates than men. Take your pulse at your wrist (with the base of your thumb) or by feeling the artery in your neck just below the ear, toward your jawbone. Compare the result with the chart. U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Inst. of Health
Resting Pulse Rates for Men
  • 20 -39 y Excellent: 59 or less; Good:60-69; Fair: 70-85; Poor: 86 +
  • 30-39 y Excellent: 63 or less; Good: 64-71; Fair: 72-65; Poor: 86 +
  • 40-49 y Excellent: 65 or less; Good: 66-73; Fair: 74-89; Poor: 90 +
  • 50 y + Excellent: 67 or less; Good:68-75; Fair: 76-89; Poor: 90 +
Resting Pulse Rates for Women
  • 20 -29 y Excellent: 71 or less; Good:72-77; Fair:78-95; Poor: 96 +
  • 30 -39 y Excellent:71 or less; Good:72-79; Fair:80-97; Poor:98 +
  • 40 -49 y Excellent:73 or less; Good:75-79; Fair:80-98; Poor: 99 +
  • 50 y + Excellent:75 or less; Good:77-83; Fair:84-102; Poor: 103 +
Note: If your pulse rate is poor, tell your doctor.

Test 2: Heart Recovery Rate

This test measures your heart's fitness. A slow recovery from exercise means you're out of shape. To measure your recovery heart rate, exercise on a treadmill until you breathe hard. Record your heart rate and hold that pace for at least one minute. If your heart does not slow down exactly one full minute after stopping to at least 30 beats in the first minute, you're in poor shape and at high risk for a heart attack. Do not exceed safe limits. Stop immediately if you feel dizzy, nauseated, or short of breath.
Recovery Heart Rates of Men at 30 Seconds
  • 20-29 y Excellent: 74; Good:76-84; Fair:86-100; Poor: 102 +
  • 30 -39 y Excellent: 78; Good:80-86; Fair: 88-100; Poor:102 +
  • 40 -49y Excellent:80; Good:82-88; Fair:90-104; Poor: 106 +
  • 50 y + Excellent: 83; Good:84-90; Fair:92-104; Poor:106 +
Recovery Heart Rates of Women at 30 Seconds
  • 20-29 y Excellent: 86; Good:88-92; Fair:93-110; Poor: 112 +
  • 30-39 y Excellent: 86; Good:88-94; Fair: 95-112; Poor: 114 +
  • 40 -49y Excellent:88; Good: 90-94; Fair:96-114; Poor:116 +
  • 50 y + Excellent: 90; Good:92-98; Fair: 100-116; Poor:118 +

Test 3: Safe Maximum Pulse Rates

Maximum pulse rate is the highest your heart rate can get. To calculate your predicted maximum pulse rate, deduct 220 from your age (example: 220 minus 50 years = 170 [predicted maximum heart rate], Cleveland Clinic Foundation 2009).
Actual maximum heart rate can be determined by a graded exercise test. Note: Some medications may affect your maximum heart rate. See your doctor first before taking the test.

Test 4: Target Heart Rate

The target heart rate is the rate between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate. It is the most beneficial part an exercise training. To find out if you're working out in your target zone, stop exercising and check your 10-second pulse. If your pulse is below your target zone, increase the rate of your exercise, if it is above the target zone, decrease the rate of your workout.
Caution: Do not exercise above 85% of your maximum heart rate. It increases heart risk and injury to your bones and joints without adding extra benefits. If you're beginning an exercise program, gradually build up to a level within your target heart rate zone.

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