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How can I tell how efficiently my heart is working?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
You can measure your heart's efficiency by measuring your heart rate after exercise. After exercising for a period of 18 minutes at 80-85 percent of your max (that's 220 minus your age), do three minutes at your maximum heart rate, then stop and check your pulse. Your heart rate should decrease 66 beats or more after two minutes of stopping. Do not do this without approval of your doctor unless you do it regularly as part of your workout.
YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

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YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting -- and why so many of us struggle with our weight and the size of our waists. Now researchers...

If you get winded when performing activities of daily living such as walking the dog, or up the steps, playing with your kids, or even mowing the lawn, it would be a good idea to start a cardiovascular fitness routine. Your cardiovascular routine for general health should consist of 5-7 days of at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. The more enjoyable the activity, the better!

If you want to objectively test your cardiorespiratory fitness level ask a personal trainer at your local gym, or your health professional to perform a YMCA 3 minute step test. This submaximal test gives you an objective number of your cardiorespiratory fitness level.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.