Ever since the pandemic started, we’ve all been focused a lot more on health. Some of us are reevaluating our workout goals, trying to eat better, or focusing on better mental health. But while it may not be at the top of the list for wellness trends, one surefire way to improve your health is to focus on your heart.
Cardiovascular fitness (aka your heart health) is a significant predictor of physical fitness, disease resistance, and even how long you’ll live. So today, we’ll be covering some easy-to-track cardio metrics that can help you move towards a healthier heart and life.
3 Cardiac Metrics to Track Heart Health
For years, runners and endurance athletes have built their workouts around a few critical metrics. And while this used to require complicated systems, fitness trackers have now made it so that anyone with a smart device can take advantage of the science.
If you want to improve your heart health, the best metrics to understand are heart rate, recovery time, and VO2 max. Let’s dive into each a bit more.
Your heart rate says a lot about your overall well-being. For example, if you’re stressed, your heart rate will be the first to let you know. But a consistently high resting heart rate can be a sign that your heart isn’t working as efficiently as it could be. So tracking your resting heart rate gives you a valuable, daily snapshot of your heart health.
For most people, a “normal” resting heart rate falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM), but if you’re physically active, don’t be alarmed if your heart rate falls under 60 BPM. It’s pretty common for people who exercise regularly to have a lower than average heart rate.
If you want to take it further, you can also track your working heart rate. Most fitness trackers watch your heart rate during exercise, which means you can shoot for different heart-rate zones to guide the intensity of your workouts. Each heart-rate zone is beneficial for your body and addresses different workout goals, but the aerobic zone is a great intensity to build up your cardiovascular system.
You know that feeling after a HIIT or sprint workout where you think your heart might pound right out of your chest? Recovery time measures how long it takes to stop feeling like that. If your heart rate can quickly return to your normal resting rate, your cardiovascular system is more efficient. And efficient systems stay healthy. In addition to tracking your resting and active heart rates, recovery time can be a good indicator of overall heart health.
The true shining star metric for cardio health is VO2 max. Our bodies use oxygen to do almost everything, especially burning calories. So a big part of building a healthy heart is making sure it can keep up with you during an exercise. Your V02 max tells you how effectively your body acquires, distributes, and uses oxygen during exercise. You can think of it as the efficiency of your body’s engine.
Most fitness trackers can now measure your VO2 max, which makes it an attainable metric for everyday fitness enthusiasts and the general public to use.
We Can Help You Pick the Right Workout Goals
At Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club, we’re all about supporting our member’s health. Our trainers can set you up with a program designed to improve your overall fitness or hone in on a specific goal, like heart health, strength, speed, or physique. No matter what you want to achieve, our team is here to support you.
You can learn more about our personal training sessions today.