How old are you? I am not asking what your birthdate is but more importantly how fast is your body aging? Your physical body may be aging faster or slower than the actual calendar age based on your daily lifestyle decisions. So, let’s test it and see.

How quickly your heart returns to a normal rate after exercise is a clear predictor of your fitness level and a loose estimate of your physical AGE. How intensely you exercise can change that for the better. To calculate your heart rate recovery time, you'll need:

  • A watch or clock with a second hand
  • Pencil and paper
  • A place to exercise

Here is the heart rate formula:

             220 – age = maximal heart rate

We do not recommend that you strive to reach this “maximum” level initially, it serves simply as a reference point. If your objective is to engage in “intense exercise” we recommend that your goal should be to attain a heart rate reflecting 90% of this maximum. Multiply the “maximal heart rate” estimate by 0.9 to discover your heart rate goal for intense exercise if you are a reasonably fit person without known cardiovascular disease. In general, we will not recommend that you push your heart rate above 90% of maximum but certainly as you train and become more fit your true heart rate maximum may increase well beyond this simple generic calculation. Talk with us if you feel these calculations are not adequate or appropriate for you.

Here is an example for a 60 year old person.  220 – 60 = 160 as the max and 90% of that is 144 beats per minute. Any reasonably healthy 60 year old person should be able to exercise and get their heart rate to 144 and hold it there for 5-10 minutes.

Step 1: Find Your Target Heart Rate using the above calculation. Now exercise for 15 minutes as you strive to get your heart rate to the 90% mark and hold it there for 5-10 minutes.

Step 2:  Step off your exercise equipment and simply sit for 2 minutes. We are going to check your pulse as you were exercising and then test it after a 2 minute rest and see how many points it dropped.

The faster your heart rate recovers or slows down the fitter and healthier your heart.

If the difference between the two numbers is:

  • Less than 22: Your Real Age is slightly older than your calendar age.
  • 22–52: Your Real Age is about the same as your calendar age.
  • 53–58: Your Real Age is slightly younger than your calendar age.
  • 59–65: Your Real Age is moderately younger than your calendar age.
  • 66 or more: Your Real Age is a lot younger than your calendar age.

This is simply where you are NOW. This can change and improve this your entire life. To see improvement, you will want to exercise at high intensity. That intensity should be discussed with your doctor (provided your doctor knows anything about exercise physiology) but with consistent effort your body can perform at a level far better than the calculation above would predict. A person in their 60’s can achieve a healthy heart rate in the 170’s while exercising if they are smart about their lifestyle and slowly build towards that goal.

Exercising doesn't cause heart attacks. Couches cause heart attacks. So, go move and expect more out of your body in order to live a long and vibrant life.