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TEST: HOW TO ASSESS HOW HEALTHY YOUR HEART IS

Since it is important to listen to your body when exercising, here is a test that will help you to assess your fitness, in particular how healthy your heart is. To do this, we recommend applying a very simple method that is used in the fields of both medicine and sport: the Ruffier-Dickson test. In order to measure your heart rate, you're going to need a stopwatch.

TEST: HOW TO ASSESS HOW HEALTHY YOUR HEART IS

HOW DO YOU DO THE RUFFIER DICKSON TEST?

- First of all, you will need to lie on your back for one whole minute and then take your pulse. The number of beats per minute gives you your first value: P1.

- Secondly, you will do 30 squats for 45 seconds: start standing upright with your feet pointing slightly outwards, more than shoulder-width apart. Bend your legs as you push your bum backwards and lean your torso ever so slightly forwards (your back should say straight with your shoulders down and heels glued to the floor). Tense your abs and glutes, and push through your legs to return to the starting position. When you have finished, take your heart rate a second time, immediately after doing the exercise while standing up. This will give you a second value: P2.

- Thirdly, you are going to lie down again and wait for one whole minute before measuring your heart rate one final time. This will give you a final value, P3.

- Now calculate your two indices:
Ruffier index = (P1 + P2 + P3) - 200 / 10
Dickson index = ((P2-70) + 2(P3-P1))/10

INTERPRETING THE RESULTS

RUFFIER INDEX
This lets you assess how well your heart is adapted to exercise.
Index < 0 = very good adaptation to exercise
0 < index < 5 = good adaptation to exercise
5 < index < 10 = average adaptation to exercise
10 < index < 15 = insufficient adaptation to exercise
15 < index = poor adaptation to exercise – further tests necessary

DICKSON INDEX
This lets you access your heart's ability to recover after exercise.
Index < 0 = excellent
0 to 2 = very good
2 to 4 = good
4 to 6 = average
6 to 8 = poor
8 to 10 = very poor
10 < index = badly adapted

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH: COACH'S TIPS

In order to get your heart better adapted to exercise as well as recovery, make sure you regularly do cardiovascular exercises, for example, running on a treadmill or walking on an inclined treadmill, or using a rowing machine, exercise bike or cross trainer. When doing this, you can choose between two training options:

CONTINUAL TRAINING:
If possible, do 45 minutes of exercise on the fitness apparatus of your choice at a constant and moderate pace. Your heart rate should generally be around 70% of your HR max (maximum heart rate) . In theory, this should be about 220 minus your age (226 for women, whose hearts beat slightly more quickly than men's).

INTERVAL TRAINING:
Warm up for 10 minutes at a moderate pace (70% HR max) on the fitness apparatus of your choice, then follow this pattern:
- Do 30 seconds at 95% HR max then 30 seconds at a slow pace
- Alternate between them 12 times in a row, then finish with 10 minutes at a moderate pace (70% HR max)