Understanding

Health & Fitness Program

I am HFit / AFit


These two self-directed programs help you determine your cardiovascular health and fitness status.


There are two programs:

HFit (Heart Fit) and AFit (Aerobic Fit)

Meet the Criteria on one or both and Get Awarded (see)


The simple HFit Program does not take much time or an elaborate test. To consider yourself HFit you just need to score fair on simple aerobic tests and have good resting blood pressure and heart rate values. To consider yourself AFit you need to meet the previous HFit criteria and score above average on one of four more involved aerobic tests.


Do not start this or any fitness program without agreeing to the waiver (see waiver) and are cleared to exercise by going over a PAR Q (see PAR Q). If you answer YES to any PAR Q questions talk to your doctor first before doing this or any exercise program.


HFit Program

1. Do you have blood pressure of 120/80 systolic/diastolic or below (even through medication)?


2. Do you have resting heart rate of 65 or below? Typically the lower the resting heart rate the fitter you are.


3. Easy Aerobic Tests: Can you can walk a mile in 14-15 minutes (3.7 - 4 mph)? If you can you have a fair level of aerobic ability. Another easy way is to climb stairs fast. If you can climb four flights (40-48 steps) of stair fast (steps) without being out of breathe totally and not having to stop you have fair level of aerobic ability.


4. Do you have fast recovery heart rate after exercise that makes you out of breath? Does your heart rate drop at least 22 beats per minute after peak exercise (exercise that makes you out of breath) within the first 2 minutes? The faster your heart and breathing recovers after exertion the more fit you are.


See HFit check-list (see tests).


AFit Program

Complete and pass the HFit Program and score above average on one of the four AFit aerobic tests (see tests). We can guide you to what test (1-4) is best for you.


How to Improve!

We can tailor a program for you. Email us to find out how to get started (fittec@me.com).

Please see our Nutrition Page for Heart Healthy Diets like the Dash and the Mediterranean Diets.

Please see our Aerobic Program Page for more details on how to improve Aerobic Ability.


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Want more Details - Read on

Do you have a good resting cardiovascular state?


Low Resting Heart Rate and Blood Pressure are easy to measure signs of cardiovascular state

Heart rate is a quantitative measure of heart's work. At rest a healthy heart of an average individual beats approximately 70-100 beats per minute. A conditioned heart beats much less at rest, only 40 to 50 beats per minute or even less and less at workloads compared to someone who is unconditioned. Heart rate variability is a quality measure of heart's work. The lower the resting heart rate the higher the heart rate variability, and thus the better the quality of heart's functions. You can see yourself improving from exercise if your heart rate is lower at the same workloads that you were previously doing - it is a sign that you heart is more efficient. Another good sign of heart efficiency is if your recovery heart rate is quicker after exercise (see below). If you do not have a heart rate monitor you can easily measure it at your wrist (see how).

According to the American Heart Association when it comes to resting heart rate, lower is better. It usually means your heart muscle is in better condition and doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. Studies have found that a higher resting heart rate is linked with lower physical fitness and higher blood pressure and body weight (see more).

Blood pressure can be easily measured at most pharmacies and professional health settings. Elevated blood pressure is very dangerous and goes unnoticed. In most cases, the damage done by high blood pressure (HBP, or hypertension) takes place over time. Left undetected (or uncontrolled), high blood pressure can lead to host of serious problems (see more).

According to the American Heart Association blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range. If your results fall into this category, stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise (see more).


Are You Aerobic Fit?

To Understand Aerobic Fitness you have to understand exercise intensity.

The Fitter you are the more activity, work, power, speed, and/or effort you can endure (ie the more intense you can move) and the faster your heart recovers after exercise.

Fast Recovery Heart Rate is a good thing

Heart rate should be able to drop 12 beats within first minute of exercise recovery


Recovery Heart Rate

Your Recovery Heart Rate, the speed at which your heart rate returns to normal after exercise, can indicate how fit you are as well as a physical cardiac condition and the risk of certain diseases. For instance, according to the a study in the New England Journal of Medicine people whose heart rate recovery time is long are at a higher risk of death than people with shorter recovery times regardless of physical condition or other risk factors. The first minute of recovery is the most crucial. After exercise, your heart rate experiences an abrupt drop during the first minute. In this study a heart rate decrease of 12 beats or less in the first minute as abnormal.

The study also reported that people with an abnormal decline in heart rate had a greater chance of mortality in the subsequent six years due to heart problems. Some suggest possible abnormality if less than or equal to 18 beats. Additionally the National Emergency Medicine Association suggests measuring heart rate recovery rates is one way to tell whether an exercise program is effective. People in better cardiovascular condition tend to have lower heart rates during peak exercise, and return to their resting heart rate more quickly after physical activity. Subtract your 2-minute heart rate from the heart rate you took immediately after vigorous exercise.  The faster your heart rate recovers (or slows down ) after 2 minutes the fitter and healthier your heart.


RPE chart (Rating of Perceived Exertion: see chart below) can also help you understand fitness level and improvement.  It can also help you determine the appropriate exercise intensity easily and some consider it the best way.  


The scale uses a 1 to 10 rating system. One is very light, such as walking around the house while ten would be maximal exercise. Ten would be indicative of not being able to take another step without fear of collapse. It is not recommended for anyone to work at a rate of 10 without strict supervision by a healthcare provider. Moderate intensity is the level of exercise that is most recommended, and can be determined by a rating between a 3 and a 4. When doing vigorous activity (such as HIIT) you can go higher on the RPE chart (4-10 is the HIIT Zone).

So if you were walking outside and it felt like a 4 or a 5 and then after several weeks of exercising it feels like at 3 or a 4 that is a sign that you are fitter.

If you can walk briskly at 3.7 mph at a RPE of 3 to 4 you have a fair to above average level of aerobic fitness. Most people should start off with moderate exercise (RPE 3) for 10 or more minutes. They should eventually work harder and at times when exercising at a RPE of 4 and above.



Another useful way to monitor intensity and understand your fitness is the Talk Test.


If it is easy to talk then you are exercising moderately. When talking becomes somewhat difficult you have reached the ventilatory threshold one (VT1) or a RPE of 5. When it becomes difficult to very difficult you have reached ventilatory threshold 2 (VT2). This range is considered the high portion of interval training. Fitness improvement: If you can talk easier at the same exercise intensity you have been doing that is a sign that you ar fitter.


FUN FACT: WHEN YOU REACH VT1 YOU HAVE ENTERED HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING ZONE


Breathing can also be used to monitor intensity and understand fitness.


If it is comfortable to breathe then you are exercising moderately. When breathing becomes noticeable you have reached the ventilatory threshold (VT1) or RPE of 5. When it becomes deep and somewhat rapid you have reached ventilatory threshold 2 (VT2). Fitness improvement: If you can breathe easier at the same exercise intensity that you have been doing that is a sign that you ar fitter.