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Unit 4 > Unit 4 > Resting pulse and recovery rate

Resting pulse and recovery rate          

The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body via the arteries.  As with all muscles the stronger it is the less hard work it has to do to perform it’s job.  Exercising the heart makes it bigger and stronger.  The stronger the heart the less it has to beat to push the blood around the body.  In general  in healthy individual’s  the lower their resting heart rate the fitter they are.  Exercise also increases lung capacity.  The heart rate is the number of times per minute the heart beats.

Normal average resting heart rates in beats per minute bpm

Normal adults 60-80 bpm
Athletes 40-60 bpm
Children 70-100 bpm

Heart rate during exercise

Whilst exercising the body uses lots of energy.  The muscles work hard and have to be provided with a constant supply of oxygen.  Oxygen converts the food individuals eat into useable energy through the process of respiration.  The extra oxygen needed during exercise is provided by breathing faster, hence feeling ‘out of breath’ .  The extra oxygen that is breathed in is sent to the muscles in the bloodstream, so the heart has to beat faster to meet the extra oxygen demand.

Measuring a  pulse

A pulse can be felt where an artery is close to the skin i.e. the wrist, neck groin or top of the foot.  Most individuals measure their pulse in their wrist, radial pulse.

Method for measuring a pulse

Equipment a watch or clock with a second hand, a digital counter or a stopwatch.

  • Turn the palm of the hand so that it is facing up.
  • Place  index and middle fingers of the opposite hand on the wrist, about 2.5cm( 1 inch) below the base of the hand.
  • Press  the fingers down in the grove between the middle tendons and the outside bone. A throbbing should be felt, this is the pulse.
  • Count the number of beats for 15 seconds, then multiply this number by 4. This will give the  heart rate for a minute, bpm

For example:

If the number of beats is 18  in the span of 15 seconds, multiply 18 by  =  18 X 4 = 72.

This means the  Heart Rate or pulse, is 72 ,  72 beats per minute, 72 bpm.

Using the neck for measuring the pulse rate(carotid pulse).  Place the fingers  gently on one side of the neck just below the jaw bone and halfway between the main neck muscles and the windpipe.          Resting heart rate

Take the pulse rate in the morning or after sitting quietly for about 10 minutes.  This will be the individual’s resting pulse.

Safety

  • Check that the individual does not have a condition  that may be affected by taking exercising
  • Ensure individual is relaxed physically and emotionally
  • The individual must give their consent  to  take part in exercising and taking their pulse
  • Make sure they are capable of doing the exercise requested
  • If the individual has a medical condition they must check with their GP that it is OK  to do some exercise.
  • If an individual hasn’t exercised for a while they must start exercising gently
  • Ensure that participants in any form of exercise do a ‘warm up exercise’ first to warm the muscles.

Recovery heart rate

Recovery heart rate helps individuals to find out if they are getting fitter through exercising.  It is a measure of how quickly an individual returns to their resting heart rate after exercise.  

Calculating recovery heart rate

  • The individual should take their resting pulse and record it.  
  • Take a pulse rate immediately   after  finishing exercising.  Record the number.
  • Take a pulse rate one minute later.  Record the number.
  • Subtract the number for the second pulse rate from the first pulse rate after exercise
  • This is the recovery heart rate number.  The bigger the number the fitter they are.

Exercise improves an individual’s chances of living a healthier life for longer.  It strengthens the heart, muscles and bones.  It increases lung capacity.  It will  improve balance, the immune system and mental health.  It makes individuals feel better and look better, it also keeps weight under control.

Suggested exercises for measuring recovery heart rate:

The Harvard step test                           

Fitness test Index

The Harvard Step test - First of all check the safety measures               The Harvard step test is an aerobic fitness test.                               Equipment

  • a platform or step 50.8cm high( 20 inches), there are variations to this test where the step can be lower.
  • A stopwatch.
  • Know the resting pulse rate of the individual

Method

  1. Practise the four step rhythm and sequence of   ‘up – up – down – down’ equals one step.
  2. The individual steps up and down on the step at a rate of 30 steps per minute ( 1 step every 2 seconds) for 5 minutes or until exhausted, which could  be shorter than 5 minutes .  Exhaustion is when the individual cannot maintain the stepping rate for 15 seconds .
  3. Immediately sit down.
  4. Take the first pulse after 1 minute and record.
  5. Follow recovery rate heart rate from point 3

Recovery heart rate from point 3

3. Take a pulse rate one minute later.  Record the number.

4.Subtract the number for the second pulse rate from the first pulse rate after exercise

5.This is the recovery heart rate number.  The bigger the number the fitter they are.

Fitness index step test - First of all check the safety measures

Method

  • Practise the four step rhythm and sequence of   ‘up – up – down – down’ equals one step.
  • The individual steps up and down on the step at a rate of 30 steps per minute ( 1 step every 2 seconds) for 4 minutes or until exhausted, which could  be shorter than 5 minutes .  Exhaustion is when the individual cannot maintain the stepping rate for 15 seconds .
  • Immediately sit down.
  • Take the first pulse after 1 minute and record.
  • Take a second pulse after a further 45 seconds
  • Take a third pulse after a further 45 seconds
  • This means the pulse will have been taken  3 times at one minute intervals after exercise

Calculations for the fitness index score

  • Time of exercise  = four minutes = 240 seconds(or less if the individual stopped earlier than 4 minutes)
  • Total number of pulse counts  = pulse 1 + pulse 2 + pulse 3 e.g. 90 + 80 + 70

The formula for the fitness index score

Time of exercise multiplied by 100 divided by the total pulse counts multiplied by 2 =

Time of exercise in seconds x 100 total pulse counts  x 2

For example:        240 x 100          = 24000 = 50=  Poor

                       90 + 80 + 70 x2    =   480

Compare the individual’s score with the fitness index score table

Fitness index score Rating
90 and over Excellent
80 -89 Good
65 – 79 Fair
55 – 64 Poor
54 and below Very poor