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Healthy Heart Reports

Recovery Pulse Rate: Heart Attack?

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that one of the best tests to predict your chance of dying in the near future is the Recovery Heart Rate.

To measure recovery heart rate, exercise on a treadmill until you breathe hard, record your heart rate, and hold that pace for at least a minute. Then cool down for two minutes and measure your pulse rate exactly one minute after stopping. If your heart does not slow down at least thirty beats in the first minute, you are in poor shape and at increased risk for a heart attack. If recovery heart rate slows down more than fifty beats in the first minute, you are in excellent shape.

You can also use the recovery pulse rate to measure improvement as you get into shape. This test can cause irregular heart beats in people with damaged hearts, so check with your physician before you try it. The authors don't tell you that recovery heart rate is a measure of fitness and that a slow recovery from exercise means that you're out-of-shape. The study really shows that being out of shape increases your chances of dying.

Cole CR et al. Hear-rate recovery immediately after exercise as a predictor of mortality. New England Journal of Medicine 1999(October 28);341(18):1351-7.


Copyright 1999
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

For more recipes, refer to the The Healthy Heart Miracle book.