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Recovery Heart Rate: All you Need to Know

When you work out, your heart rate is elevated to sometimes 85% of its maximum rate. So it comes as no surprise that your heart rate takes a little while to recover to its resting rate after you have spent time exercising. However, how long it takes for your heart rate to return to its resting rate post-exercise can tell you a lot about your health.

According to the American Heart Association, heart rate recovery is the decrease in heart rate one minute after working out. Your heart rate recovery is a good indicator of your mortality and how your cardiovascular health is. This is because, during exercise, your heart muscle is getting a workout by trying to pump blood throughout your body quicker than when at rest.

A good way to track your recovery heart rate is to be constantly monitoring it during your workout and immediately after with a device like Circular’s ring. This will help you visualize your health and quantify your progress over time.

Why Is Heart Rate Recovery Important?

When you are just starting to work out, you notice how your muscles feel like they are working extra hard to keep you going. You also may notice that your body is sore and feeling exhausted the next day for a little while until you start exercising more often. In this case, your heart functions in the same way.

Your heart muscle works hard to pump blood through your arteries and to the rest of your body during a workout. If you do not exercise often, your heart muscle needs to work harder to distribute blood efficiently. When you stop exercising, your body and heart muscles need extra time to recover and return to a resting rate.

As you continue exercising regularly, your heart muscle will grow accustomed to pumping blood throughout the body at a quicker pace. This means your heart rate will ultimately slow down because it doesn’t have to work as hard. It is the same idea as your muscles growing stronger over time as you work out.

How Does Heart Rate Impact Mortality?

There have been many studies on how a low heart rate recovery is directly linked to higher mortality.

In one study, participants’ heart rates were monitored during peak exercise and then again a minute later when slowing down. It was found that a slower recovery heart rate could directly predict mortality, increasing the risk almost four times over.

To calculate your heart rate variability, all you need to do is check your heart rate during peak exercise and then again one minute after you stop. Subtract these two numbers and you have your heart rate variability.

If your 1-minute HRR is <13 beats or 2-minute HRR <22 beats per minute, this is generally a low heart rate recovery and you may be at a higher risk for certain cardiovascular issues.

Calculating your recovery heart rate is an easy way to see how your heart health is doing.

Subtract your 2-minute heart rate from the heart rate you recorded after exercising.  The faster your heart rate recovers, the healthier your heart is.

The difference between these two numbers can help you gain insight into your heart health:

● A difference of less than 22 means your biological age is older than your calendar age.

● A difference between 22 and 52 means your biological age is nearly identical to your calendar age.

● A difference from 53 to 58 signifies that your biological age is somewhat younger than your calendar age.

● A difference between 59 and 65 means your biological age is moderately younger than your calendar age.

● A difference of 66 or more indicates that your biological age is substantially younger than your calendar age.

In this case, you want your recovery heart rate to be a higher number because that means your heart does not take a lot of time to recover from the workout. It means your heart is in great health and you are doing a great job of taking care of your body.

The easiest way to track all of these numbers without having to think about them during your workout is with Circular.

How Can Health Monitoring Help?

Remembering to track your heart rate during your workout can be difficult. With Circular’s ring, you are able to constantly monitor your heart rate, sleep patterns, activity levels, and blood oxygen without thinking too much about it.

Circular will put all of your information on an app so you can view your workout analysis and heart rate throughout it after you get home.

The Circular ring gives you personalized advice to change your lifestyle and optimize your health based on the results it is gathering. It also creates charts and shows you your progress over time, so you can pinpoint when your body is starting to see changes from working out. It is a great way to see progress without having to look in the mirror.

The ring is sleek in design and is able to go underwater or in high altitudes and still gather an accurate reading on your body. This way, you can always wear the ring and not even have to think about it but still be monitoring your health in the process. Having it stored in an app makes it convenient for you to view any of your health data from the past at any moment.

The ring also makes it easier for you to pinpoint when changes occur, helping you hone in on factors that may have contributed to those changes. Your heart rate can be affected by many factors, so if some days look different to you, check in with yourself to figure out what you did differently.

Circular can help you track changes in your body so that you can easily discuss them with your doctor when concerns arise. If you have pre-existing health conditions, Circular’s health tracking can help you stay up-to-date o key metrics like your heart rate or blood oxygen levels. Health tracking becomes an extremely useful tool to identify any changes as well as monitor your overall health progress.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, it can be difficult to stay motivated or to get an accurate reading on your heart rate if you are calculating it yourself. In these cases, having a device constantly monitoring you without obstructing your life or causing you to have to go out of your way to use it is incredibly useful. Circular can help you remain accountable with your goals while showing you your progress and allowing you to get a good picture of your health.

Circular monitors all things that contribute to your overall health internally, including your sleeping patterns. A combination of diet, exercise, and proper sleep can all greatly improve your cardiovascular and lung health among other things. By starting today and listening to your body, you can help improve your health in the long run.

Remember when looking at a recovery heart rate, the higher the number, the better. This means your heart does not have to work super hard to return to its resting heart rate and can sufficiently pump blood throughout your body with ease. Constantly tracking your heart rate can be made easy with Circular because you don’t have to do anything extra when you are wearing the ring.  


Heart-rate recovery immediately after exercise as a predictor of mortality | NIH

Heart Rate Recovery 10 Seconds After Cessation of Exercise Predicts Death | Journal of the American Heart Association  

Improve Heart Health by Knowing Your Recovery Heart Rate | Enhanced Medical Care

Sihem Kime

Chief Data Scientist at Circular, Sihem is passionate about healthcare and machine learning. She practices swimming, cycling and running which makes her the fittest to design Circular algorithms.

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