The heart is the most properly rated organ in the body. It gets a lot of love, respect, and fear. That love is shown through an abundance of news coverage, that respect is shown in the ability to do physical activity and that fear is shown by cardiovascular disease being the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. for men and women each year. February is American Heart Month and it’s important to bring awareness to how you can improve your heart function with exercise.
The heart is many things but it’s main job is to pump oxygenated blood to the rest of the body through the circulatory system. That oxygenated blood gives muscles and other organs energy to be able to move. Depending on your heart health or fitness level you can improve the efficiency of the heart muscle. In most cases you want your resting heart rate to lower with exercise and lifestyle improvements because that means you are able to pump the necessary amount of blood with less beats per minute. Exercise is a proven way to improve this efficiency but how do you know that? And how do you measure it?
The most common non-hospital way to measure your heart efficiency is by measuring your daily resting heart rates (ideally a healthy resting heart rate range is 45-70 beats per minute) first thing in the morning and also your exercise heart rates. Luckily with Fitbit, Apple watches, and Garmin like wearables you can see that data while wearing it on your wrist. In my experience the wrist wearable options are not as responsive and accurate as the options that place sensors around your torso near your heart. This February, Donavan’s Wellness Solutions launched MyZone at two of its programs; Calistoga Fit and DWS concept. MyZone is a torso wearable that measures your heart rate, calories, heart rate percentage of max heart rate, and effort points called MEP’s (MyZone Effort Points) in real-time during the fitness class.
The cool thing about many of these wearables is that you can track your progress over multiple weeks or even years. The way many doctors, trainers or coaches track their clients’ progress is by having them do a pre- and post-cardio test. For example, they may measure their heart rate to be 120 beats per minute while walking on the treadmill at 3 mph and 4 percent incline. After doing 4 weeks of cardio training their heart rate might drop down to 105 beats per minute while doing the same levels on the treadmill. That 15 beat difference could be the difference of you being in the number one cardiovascular disease category or dancing to the Bee Gees song “Stayin Alive” at another family members wedding.
Trainers Tip: Check with your doctor that you are good to start with harder cardio exercise. Choose your favorite wearable like MyZone or Fitbit. Measure your resting heart rate first thing in the morning and also when you’re exercising and see if your heart rate starts to lower over time with consistent exercise 3-4 days a week. If you need help with that process, ask Calistoga Fit and they can show you.
Donavan Almond is owner and CEO of Donavan’s Wellness Solutions, Calistoga Fit, DWS Concept at Auberge du Soliel and Calistoga Ranch. Certified in both CSCS, ACSM, he provides fitness and wellness coaching, nutrition support, residential and commercial gym design, as well as consulting with award winning hotel brands. He has trained many college athletes and professional athletes including the Washington Redskins. His experience working with all levels and ages gives him the ability to tailor a unique program to the client.