Measuring Increases in Cardiovascular Fitness: You Need To Do This!


Looking in the mirror can tell you a lot about where your training has taken you. Looking at your cardio fitness with a simple formula can reveal what you’ll never know by enlarging your selfie for critical evaluation. And this involves the most important muscle in your body: your cardiac muscle – – ’cause when it gives you problems, everything else is secondary!

A good portion of your workout efforts must be devoted to cardiovascular fitness. Aside from heart problems still being the number one killer, cardio gives us the boost in lung functioning that we need, as aging, itself, brings a diminished aerobic capacity.

Let’s Quantify It!

First, you need to know how to take your pulse. (Unless you want to buy a smart watch to do it for you). The easiest pulse to detect is on the side of your neck, between your adam’s apple (thyroid cartilage) and your large neck muscle. Lightly placing your fingers there will allow you to feel the pulse that’s going to give you the information you need.

Using whatever timepiece that’s conveniently nearby, count the number of heartbeats in a six second period, add a zero to that number, and you’ve calculated your beats per minute.

Do your aerobic activity as usual and take your pulse immediately upon stopping. Rest for one minute and take your pulse again.

What Do We Want To Happen?

As the heart becomes more efficient through exercise, it recuperates quicker after stress. Therefore, the fitter you become, the greater will be the difference between your heart rate while exercising, and your heart rate after resting one minute.

If your difference is 12 beats or less, you need to see your doctor. If the spread is 20 to 40 points difference, you’re in good shape. Anything above that and you’re in top cardio condition.

You’re working hard to improve your cardio performance. Use this method to check on your progress. You can do more in-depth study by researching Heart Rate Recovery.

To Your Healthy Heart,


Become a part of ‘Senior Fitness Issues And Ideas’–a Google+ Community, (even if you’re not a senior) and I will gladly answer your exercise and fitness questions personally!

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Categories: Fitness


4 replies

  1. Reblogged this on oldskoolrunner and commented:
    Interesting read. Now that I’m older.. I tend to look at what I do to myself.

    • Thanks for visiting. As the years go by, you’ll find some things will take you by surprise. But, undoubtedly, exercise is an irreplaceable activity and is one’s best defense. Thanks for sharing my blog post!

      The Senior Health and Fitness Blog

  2. Good blog post, Steven! And something I’d been meaning to do but hadn’t gotten around to until after I just read it! Looked at this workout from tonight: – last “rep” was at 30:30 (163 BPM) and one minute later it was down to 139 BPM (24 BPM difference). So I guess I’m doing okay. Thanks! Pete


  1. It’s All On The Inside: Do You Know The Most Important Numbers Concerning Your Health? | The Senior Health and Fitness Blog

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