Heart rate monitors help you keep tabs on your pulse rate.
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Your heart responds to the demands you place on it. The harder you exercise, the faster your heart will beat and the higher your pulse rate will be. It's natural for your pulse to remain elevated for a while after you've completed your workout; just how long it remains elevated before returning to its resting rate is determined by how hard your exercised or how long you worked out. A pulse rate that remains elevated for more than 24 hours after a workout could be a sign that you are overtraining and need to rest.
But First, The Benefits
It's normal to have an elevated heart rate for hours after a workout, especially if you did a tough set of intervals. The phenomenon, called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, signals that your body is more metabolically active than normal. It means you're burning more calories, even if you're not currently being active, and stimulating EPOC can help you lose weight.
Monitor in the Morning
Writing on Competitor.com, former All-American cross-country runner Jeff Gaudette advises people to become familiar with their resting pulse rate by checking it every morning before getting out of bed for at least three weeks. He suggests athletes pay particular attention to their resting pulse rate in the days after a hard workout; if it remains elevated above your normal resting rate by seven or more beats per minute, it could mean that you haven't fully recovered from the effort and need more rest. If your resting pulse rate steadily increases over a two- or three-week period, you need to increase your rest between workouts.
Return to Normal
Cardiac surgeon Dr. Larry Creswell, writing on the Endurance Corner website, notes that your pulse rate could remain elevated for up to an hour after an easy aerobic workout and several hours after a вЂњlong-durationвЂќ aerobic training session. It may take up to 24 hours for the pulse rate to return to normal after a particularly difficult workout, such as a race or triathlon.
Find Your Heart Rate Recovery
One way to measure your level of fitness is by monitoring your heart rate recovery, or HRR. You can calculate your HRR by measuring how much your heart rate decreases in the minute immediately after stopping a bout of exercise in which you've pushed yourself to within 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. As you gain fitness during a training cycle, your HRR should increase. If you notice your HRR decreasing, you may be overtraining and need additional rest.
Weight Training and Pulse Rate
Although athletes involved in aerobic conditioning, such as runners, swimmers and cyclists, are typically more concerned with pulse rates, athletes training for strength, speed and power will also find changes to their pulse rates during training. Anyone doing weight training, for instance, typically employs short, high-intensity work periods of five to 30 seconds followed by relatively long rest periods of two to three minutes. Their pulse rates rise significantly during their exercise bouts and return to normal within a few minutes after a workout is over.
Effect on Resting Pulse Rate
How long your heart rate will remain elevated while weight training is determined by how much you lift, the number of repetitions you do and the amount of muscle you incorporate into the exercise. Regular weight training could result in a beneficial decrease in your resting pulse rate.