5 Questions and Answers About the Heart
1. Does heart rate recovery indicate anything about a person’s health?
Yes. Cole et al. (1999) showed that a delayed decrease in heart rate (less than 12 beats slower) during the first minute after a maximal graded exercise may indicate decreased vagal nerve activity and is a powerful predictor of overall mortality.
2. Does exercise training improve recovery heart rate?
Yes. Seiler, Haugen & Kuffel (2007) showed that recovery heart improvement (faster recovery) occurs as fitness level progressively increases.
3. Does cardiovascular training improve blood flow to the heart muscle?
For cardiac patients and noncardiac patients alike, cardiovascular training causes structure and functional changes in the heart that improve blood flow to the heart muscle (myocardium). These changes may provide some protection to the heart.
4. What is a heart arrhythmia, and why is it dangerous?
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. When arrhythmias become long-lasting or severe, they begin to compromise the heart’s ability to pump enough blood to the body, and in some cases they may be life-threatening.
5. What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which the upper atriums of the heart begin to beat too rapidly. A person can sustain life with atrial fibrillation, but it may lead to chronic fatigue, heart failure and even stroke. Depending on its severity, atrial fibrillation can be treated with medicine, surgery or a pacemaker.
To read the full article from the February 2013 issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal click here.
Cole, C.R., et al. 1999. Heart-rate recovery immediately after exercise as a predictor of mortality. The New England Journal of Medicine, 341 (18), 1351–57.
Seiler, S., Haugen, O., & Kuffel, E. 2007. Autonomic recovery after exercise in trained athletes: Intensity and duration effects. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39 (8), 1366–73.