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Having a вЂњnormalвЂќ post-exercise heart rate is extremely important because an вЂњabnormalвЂќ post-exercise heart rate is вЂњstrongly predictive of death,вЂќ according to a study published by вЂњThe New England Journal of MedicineвЂќ on Oct. 28, 1999. The most important heart rate number is how quickly your heart rate drops during the first minute after you're finished exercising. Your post-exercise heart rate also measures your fitness.
Exercise Heart Rates
Exercising helps you improve your physical fitness, mental state and weight, but its most important benefit is its impact on your heart and lungs. You need to increase your heart rate to between 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate to improve the condition of your heart and lungs, according to вЂњAn Invitation to HealthвЂќ author Dianne Hales. A woman's maximum heart rate is 225 heartbeats per minute minus her age; a man's is 220 heartbeats per minute minus age. Consequently, a 40-year-old woman should have an exercise heart rate of 111 to 157 heartbeats per minute, while a 40-year-old man's should be 108 to 153. A 60-year-old woman's exercise heart rate should be 99 to 140 heartbeats per minute while a 60-year-old man's should be 96 to 136.
Dangerous Heart Rates
The post-exercise heart rates of people in superior cardiovascular condition decline faster than people with heart problems. A study of 2,428 patients by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation showed that 120 of the 639 people, or 19 percent, who had a heart rate that declined fewer than 12 heartbeats per minute in the first minute after their workout died within six years of the study. The clinic considered this an abnormal heart rate. Only 93 of the other 1,789 people, or 5 percent, died. The median post-exercise heart rate decline was 17 heartbeats per minute in the first minute after a workout, while about 25 percent of the patients had post-exercise heart rates that declined more than 23 heartbeats per minute.
Post-Exercise Heart Rates
A 40-year-old woman whose heart rate is 157 heartbeats per minute when she finishes exercising needs to have a heart rate of 145 or fewer heartbeats per minute one minute later to have a normal post-exercise heart rate. A post-exercise heart rate that declines more than 23 heartbeats per minute to below 134 heartbeats per minute is superior. A 60-year-old man whose heart rate is 96 heartbeats per minute when he's finished exercising needs to have a heart rate of 84 or fewer heartbeats per minute one minute later to have a normal post-exercise heart rate. A post-exercise heart rate that declines to below 73 heartbeats per minute is superior.
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation study also concluded that increasing your physical fitness increased your chances of having a normal post-exercise heart rate one minute after you exercise. You can measure your fitness by continually taking your heart rate, or pulse, until it returns to its resting pre-exercise rate. As your fitness improves, your post-exercise heart rate should equal your pre-exercise heart rate in a shorter period of time. Your post-exercise heart rate should drop dramatically in the first minute after exercise and gradually after that.