Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

Yoga poses are intended to engage the mind as well as the body. Yoga practitioners even believe certain poses can retrain your muscles to relax in situations where they might have become tense.

Yoga Stretches
Yoga Cat Stretch

Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

The Child’s Pose

Sit with your legs under you, buttocks resting on your heels, knees and feet together. Fold your self over your lower body and place your forehead against the floor. Rest your hands on the floor by your feet with your palms up. Breathing gently through your nose, relax into this position feeling the release in your hips. Hold for 15 seconds.

Child's Pose Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

The child’s post is one of the quick fix yoga stretches that can really ease some tension. Be aware of your breath, breath slowly in through the nose, exhale through the mouth. (Hum if you like). This stretches out the shoulder blades, back, buttock area and allows the neck to relax.

The Resting Pose

Lie face up with your legs at least hip-width apart, and place your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle from your body. Feel your abdomen rise and fall with each breath as your focus on releasing tension each time you exhale. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat several times – as long as you want.

Resting Pose Quick Fix Yoga Stretches

Result. The next time you have a stressful day, release the pressure with a quick fix yoga stretches that are guaranteed to calm you in both mind and body when performed properly (don’t rush through them).

Yoga: 5,000 Years Old

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline that originated in India. In yoga, you hold postures (asanas), or move from one to another either while standing or on the floor. You usually end the workout with a relaxation or meditation exercise. Quick fix yoga stretches can be great when you only have five or ten minutes to attempt to relax yourself. Just find a quiet, private spot and do your best. You’ll get better with practice!

Types of yoga
Yoga works the entire body and is great for strengthening and stretching. It improves posture, balance and range of motion while reducing carpal tunnel pain and can reduce risk of heart disease.

There are many types of yoga, ranging from almost entirely meditative to the very physically challenging; look for a beginning class or tape if you are new at yoga.

What Are the Types of Yoga?

  • Bikram. Practice yoga in 105 degree heat and 40 percent humidity. Bikram yoga has 26 poses total and a lot of alignment work. Good fit for beginners – if you can stand the heat!
  • Hatha. Slow and gentle movements – also great for beginner’s or when winding down at night.
  • Vinyasa. This one will definitely have you moving. You flow from pose to pose. Vinyasa is the most popular style of yoga in America.
  • Kundalini. Works the “core” area, the area that surrounds the lower spine the most – classes are known to be very intense.
  • Ashtanga Yoga. Also known as Power Yoga, this form is very physically challenging. Best suited for ex-athletes or someone looking to really push themselves.
  • Iyengar. This form of yoga uses lots of props such as blocks, harnesses, straps and cushions. Great for physical therapy.
  • Anusara Yoga. Anusara is epitomized by “the celebration of the heart. Expect many “heart-opening” poses like back bends and more talking by the instructor in class.
  • Restorative. Restorative yoga is focused on relaxation.

If you are new to yoga, we recommend Yoga for Beginners and Beyond. Even if you’re not new to yoga, this set has routines that are so relaxing and feel so good you may wish to use them for some “down” time! Each of the 40 routines focuses on different physical and mental aspects of yoga, such as building strength, improving flexibility, reducing stress and more.

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Food Label Facts

Food Label Facts

Food Label Facts
Food Label Facts

The food label facts are that the use of terms such as low fat and low calorie are now heavily regulated by the government for consistency in meaning. This means manufacturers cannot sell under false pretenses; however, it also means higher costs to consumers. Once upon a time, a manufacturer was honest or went out of business – it truly was that simple. No longer… Now we find ourselves wallowing in a sea of terms and regulations that are next to impossible to keep up on.

Studies show that most people don’t even read food labels. For example, Time Magazine came out with an article back in 2011 about this very topic. See Study: Why People Don’t Read Nutrition Labels.

No surprise; people are busy and just want to eat what they like. Yet, we’re stuck with all the labeling and ever-changing terminology, so following we’ll lay out what the more common labels actually mean. This way, when you see a boast on a package such as “Low fat”, you’ll know just what that means without having to dig out reading glasses to read the fine print.

What the Different Food Label Facts Mean

  • Calorie free: Fewer than 5 calories per serving.
  • Sugar free: Less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Fat free: Less than 0.5 grams of total fat per serving.
  • Low fat: 3 grams or fewer of total fat grams per serving.
  • Low saturated fat: 1 gram or less per serving.
  • Low sodium: Fewer than 140 milligrams per serving.
  • Very low sodium: Fewer than 140 milligrams per serving.
  • Low cholesterol: Fewer than 20 milligrams per serving.
  • Low calorie:40 calories or fewer per serving.
  • Lean: Fewer than 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and per 100 grams of meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Extra lean: Fewer than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving and per 100 grams of meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • High: One serving contains 20 percent of more of the Daily Value for that nutrient.
  • Good source: One serving contains 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value for that nutrient.
  • Reduced: A nutritionally altered product that contains 25 percent less of a nutrient or calories than the regular product.
  • Less: A food (that may or may not be altered) that contains 25 percent less of a nutrient or calories than the regular product or food.
  • Light: A nutritionally altered product that contains one-third fewer calories or half of the fat of the regular food or product. It can also mean that the sodium content of a low-calorie, low-fat food has been reduced by half.
  • More: One serving contains at least 10 percent more of the Daily Value of a nutrient than the regular food or product.

A few other common terms that might need some explanation are as follows.

    • From concentrate: juices from concentrate should have the same nutritional value as the original juice product. Concentrate means that at some point, much of the water was removed for easier shipping, and water was added back in to reconstitute the original consistency of the juice. (Think frozen orange juice.)
    • Sugar alcohol (or polyols): These naturally occurring sweeteners are often used as sugar substitutes because they provide anywhere from half to one-third the calories of regular sugar. Also, unlike regular sugar, they don’t cause an immediate jump in blood sugar. Some common sugar alcohols are mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol, and hydrogenated starch hydroslysates (HSH). Consuming sugar alcohols in high volumes can cuase abnormal gas, discomfort and diahrrea.
    • Multigrain, whole grain: These terms are not interchangeable. Whole grain means that all parts of the grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm – are used in the making of the product. Multigrain, however, means that a food contains more than one type of grain. Whole gran foods – listed as “whole grain,” “whole wheat,” and “whole oats” are the healthier choice.

Warning

Most fat-free products contain high amounts of sugar in order to make up for the loss of taste from the fat. On the flip side, low sugar products usually have a higher fat content. Read the food label facts on labels, then choose wisely.

Sources

  • Eat Any Sugar Alcohol Lately?”, Yale-New Haven Hospital
  • Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., Nutrition and Healthy Eating Q & A, Mayo Clinic

Keeping Energized

Keeping Energized

Keeping Energized
When it comes to keeping energized, we really are what we eat. Making sure we consume balanced meals and snacks throughout the day is part of the solution to helping us feel our best. Different food groups provide different nutrients, which are broken down and used at different rates. This is why we need a combination of foods to keep us energized throughout the day. Since carbohydrates, protein and fat move through the stomach at different rates, eating meals and snacks that provide a combination of these nutrients helps us get a steady supply of energy.

  • Carbohydrates: Found in grains, fruits and vegetables, they provide a quick energy supply, but typically leave the stomach within an hour.
  • Protein: This nutrient, found in meat and milk products, usually takes about two hours to digest.
  • Fats: These tend to stay in the stomach the longest — about three to five hours.

To get a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat each time you eat, try to eat meals that include foods from at least three food groups and snacks that include foods from at least two.

Food Groups

Lift Your Spirits

If you’re struggling to get to the gym, consider this: Workouts are a good way to beat the blues.
In a study of adults with mild to moderate depression, researchers noted that burning a certain number of calories each week through aerobic exercise resulted in significantly lower depression scores over time. The workouts in the study were equivalent to a 150-pound person burning about 1,200 calories per week.

In summary, eat a healthful variety of foods from all the food groups, and go burn some calories!

Birthday Superstitions

Birthday Superstitions

Many of the cherished rituals performed during children birthday parties actually have their origins in ancient superstitions.

Birthday Superstitions Image
DIY Birthday Gift Bag – Available on Etsy

Wishing on Candles.

The offering the ancient Greeks made to Artemis – the protector of the young and the goddess of the moon, the hunt, and childbirth was in the form of a round honey cake with a candle on top. German bakers, who invented the modern birthday cake during the Middle Ages, encircled the cake with lit candles. The custom was refined over the years, and the cake itself came to be decorated with one candle for each year of life. Some people add an extra candle grow on.

Birthday Party Gift Bag
DIY Birthday Party Gift Bag – Available on Etsy

Playing Games.

A birthday begins a new year, and games of power and skill – physical and mental – give the birthday child a chance to demonstrate increased strength and wisdom.

Birthday Spankings.

Inflicting a little pain chases away evil spirits and ensures good luck for the coming year In some countries, guests give the birthday child whacks, punches, or pinches – but all are given gently, and for good luck.

Gifts to the Guests.

The small prizes embedded in a birthday cake – such as rings, coins, or buttons – are tokens for telling fortunes in some families. Guests may also get party favors.

Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips

The skin on your lips is much more sensitive than the rest of your face. The lips do not contain oil glands like your skin does. This is why the chap so easily.

Chapped Lips

Lips will crack easily in cold air, sun or wind. When this happens, resist the temptation to pick the peeling skin off your chapped lips.

Mouth breathing can also cause chapped lips. The air that is constantly passing over your lips serves to dry them out.

Toothpaste can be another cause of dry lips due to the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate. Check your toothpaste label(s). You may also want to check for dehydrating alcohols in toothpastes, which you want to avoid.

Too much vitamin A can cause chapped lips. If you take more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily, you’re consuming too much.

Soon after licking dry, chapped lips, they will feel dry again. This causes you to lick them again. Before you even realize it, you’re in a continuing cycle of lip dehydration, because saliva evaporates – quickly. Now your already sore, chapped lips will be even drier than before. Eventually, you’ll be left with a rough, dry, shrunken upper layer separated from the moist layer below it.

Food That Can Cause Chapped Lips

The acid in citrus fruits can irritate the delicate skin on your lips. Tomato sauce is another potential irritant, especially if one already has chapped lips. Cinnamates, used in candy, gum and toothpaste among other things, can have the same effect.

Preventing Chapped LipsLip Balm

  1. Even though licking your chapped lips seems to provide relief, resist the temptation. Your lips are more likely to chap as they dry.
  2. Apply a lip ointment at night. During the day use on that contains a sunscreen.
  3. When reapplying lipstick, don’t wipe off the old coat. Doing so causes irritation. At night, gently remove traces of lipstick with petroleum jelly or cold cream.

Note

You can also use petroleum jelly or beeswax to keep your lips moist during the day.

Petroleum Jelly

Did you know?

Dry, cracked lips can be associated with deficiencies of certain B vitamins.

Study Tips to Train the Brain

Study Tips to Train the Brain

Study Tips
Study Tips

Let’s take a look at some quick study tips that will help you train your brain for all your studies throughout the school year and beyond!

  1. Brains don’t run on hot air. Eat breakfast.
  2. Pay attention, don’t get attention. Listen in class.
  3. Every new word deserves ink. Write facts, words and questions in a notebook.
  4. Write down assignments, every word. No shortcuts!
  5. Use down time during the day to read, write or do a math problem. You might be through home work before school is out.
  6. Get team study spirit! Have a study partner who helps you with one subject and whom you can help with another.
  7. Stiff necks not allowed! Put books and papers where you can read and write comfortably.
  8. Yaawwwwn at home, not in school! Relax between classes. Stretch and roll your shoulders and wiggle your feet.
  9. Snack time! Everybody feels a little tired about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Just don’t spoil your appetite for supper.

Speaking of snack time, following is a recipe for Pennant Cookies. A great treat after the big game win and a great comfort after a big loss…

Pennant Cookies Recipe

Great for the bake sale!

1 (18 ounce) package sugar cookie dough
Craft sticks
1 (16 ounce) container white frosting
Food coloring
1 bag M & Ms milk chocolate candies

  1. Roll out sugar cookie dough and cutout triangle shapes.
  2. Add a craft stick to the back of each cookie and adhere with a small ball of additional cookie dough.
  3. Bake according to package directions and let cool.
  4. Tint frosting to school colors and decorate with M & Ms candies.
Pennant Cookies
Pennant Cookies

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Vodka for Foot Odors?

Vodka for Foot Odors?

Vodka is a popular beverage which is generally composed of ethanol and water. Now you can use it for hygienic purposes, as well!

Vodka for Foot Odors?
Vodka for Foot Odors?

 

If your feet smell less than swell, wipe them down with a vodka-soaked wash cloth to get rid of the stench.

It’s the same principle as rubbing alcohol (which works equally well if you’d rather drink your Grey Goose).

How Does Vodka Destroy Foot Odors?

Vodka contains alcohol, which is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odor-causing fungus and bacteria and dries out the moisture that lets these organisms grow.

Vodka Ice Packs

Freeze a plastic bag filled with vodka and apply as an ice pack on aches and pains. Helps numb pain.

Vodka Mouth Wash

Cinnamon and vodka can be mixed to create a natural mouth wash, although for sensitive gums it may be best to stick to alcohol free mouth wash or a warm salt water rinse.

Russian Folklore

In Russian folklore, vodka was used to cure many ailments from a simple headache, the common cold and a bad hangover. You can also create vodka tinctures as an herbal remedy to consume orally or use topically as an anesthetic. Vodka has also been used to swish around an aching tooth to relieve pain.

Did you know?

The name vodka evolved from “voda“, a Slavic word which literally means water.

Note of Caution: Excess consumption of alcohol in any form enhances the risk of major diseases.

Drug Abuse Problem

The Drug Abuse Problem

Drug abuse problem is one of the major problems facing many young people today. National surveys indicate that persons in the age group of 18 to 25 are most likely to use illegal drugs.

Drug abuse
Drug abuse

Why do young people, or why does anyone, young or old, use drugs? Studies reveal that responses such as the following are common.

  • “They make me feel good.”
  • “My friends all do it.”
  • “I’m more relaxed and friendly when I’m high.”
  • “I was curious.”

Unfortunately, the drug user’s life sooner or later becomes disrupted. Drugs can cause a wide variety of physiological and psychological problems. Drug abuse can interfere with school performance and personal relationships. It can cause lost jobs and cut short promising careers. It can ruin lives.

Many drug abusers are not aware they have a problem. They rationalize that they can stop anytime. Unfortunately, the research shows this is not true in many of the situations.

When to Get Help For a Drug Problem

  1. Do you take drugs or drink to get ready for social situations?
  2. Do you take drugs or drink to avoid facing personal problems?
  3. Do you hide your drinking or drug use from others?
  4. Do you take drugs and drink when you are alone?
  5. Do you get annoyed at others who suggest you drink or take drugs too much?

If you answer yes to many of the questions in the box above, you may have an alcohol or drug problem and should talk to an alcohol and drug counselor at your college health center.

Living a life of robust energy and fitness is a quality of life on the opposite end of the spectrum from a life of using drugs. Your quality of life does not depend on doing right or wrong or whether you are good or bad. Your quality of life is determined by your choice to live at your potential and to live each day to the fullest.

Exercise can be your drug – your recreational drug! Exercise can help you to handle personal demands, achieve career goals and maintain good health and wellness. Remember that wellness refers to engaging in behaviors that enhance the quality of your life. Regular exercise is the key to maximizing your potential.

Drug use has the potential to mess up your health and the quality of your life. Drugs used for treatment, cure, prevention, or pain relief are referred to as medicines. Such medicines have kept people alive and helped in maintaining health. When a person uses drugs for reasons other than medical treatment, this behavior is called recreational drug use. Drugs are used recreationally to lessen social tensions, to seek sensations of pleasure, to enhance physical performance, to rebel against the pressures of society, to gain peer acceptance, or for a combination of these reasons.

Drugs are classified according to the physiological affect they have on your body as follows.

Uppers and downers

  • Stimulants. Speed up your nervous system, increase alertness and excitability.
  • Depressants. Slow down your nervous system, Help you to relax (known as tranquilizers or sedatives).
  • Psychoactive drugs.  Alter moods, feelings, perceptions.
  • Narcotics. Powerful pain killers that cause pleasurable feelings.
  • Inhalants. Volatile non-drugs producing drug like effects when inhaled, substances such as glue and gasoline fall into this category.
  • Designer drugs. Illegal manufactured drugs that tend to mimic controlled substances. Generally more powerful and dangerous than the drugs they mimic.

Commonly Abused Drugs

Caffeine and alcohol are classified as drugs. All are legal and commonly used today in our society. They have the potential to be harmful if abused. Anabolic steroids, most often used by athletes, have also become a concern. The so-called recreational drugs, such as crack and marijuana, are another form of drug that can cause serious health problems.

Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Millions of people drink or ingest caffeine daily. It is found in cola drinks, chocolate, and of course, coffee. Restricting consumption to a couple of cups of coffee or cola a day allows a person to get the benefits without hurting his or her health.

Alcohol DrinksAlcohol. Alcohol, although socially acceptable, has probably caused more social, emotional, and physical damage to users and  their families than any other drug. People drink to celebrate, to relax, to ease social situations, to feel good, and for a multitude of other reasons.

Because alcohol is accepted in society as legal and appropriate, it is important to use it responsibly. This means drinking slowly (not more than one drink per hour), eating when drinking and, most important – not mixing drinking and driving.

Some people have a low tolerance for alcohol or may lose control over t heir alcohol consumption. These situations can lead to alcoholism. To date, there is no way of determining in advance who will have trouble with alcohol. A tendency toward alcoholism can be inherited, thus the drinking of alcohol can be very risk y for some people. However, the question remains, is the “inherited” from learned behavior or an actual physical connection?

Steroids. Anabolic steroids are powerful drugs that can change the way the body works. They can increase  body weight, muscle size and strength. They are looked upon as performance-enhancing agents. However, because of the serious health risks, physicians and sports organizations are against the use of steroids. Steroids are used medically to help the body heal. However, doses given for medical reasons must be carefully monitored by doctors.

Even though steroids appear to increase muscle bulk and strength, they can cause serious health problems. Side effects range from acne to cancer. Even heart attacks may show up years later after use. Bone growth can be hindered. In males, testicles shrink, with impotence and sterility resulting. Female uses end up with increased growth of facial and body hair. Over 70 harmful side effects have been identified.

Aside from physical problems, steroids can cause depression and violent behavior. Infections from steroid injections have led to infections such as hepatitis (a liver disease) and AIDS. Most important, many elite athletes who were known steroid users have died at a young age because of steroid use.

Despite these frightening facts, the use of anabolic steroids is increasing. And not just among athletes, but among fitness enthusiasts who want to experience strength gains and muscle definition beyond those seen with training and nutrition alone.

Some users report a feeling of euphoria. Many users don’t care about heart disease 20 years from now. They are only concerned with the present. Some physicians feel that steroids may be one of the most addictive drugs in America. Suffice it to say, the dangers from the use of this drug far outweigh its immediate benefits. Proper training will bulk up your muscles if this is your desire. It just might take a little longer.

Recreational Drugs

The most widely used recreational drugs are cocaine and marijuana. Use of these drugs produces feelings of exhilaration, euphoria, and well being. The effect is rapid and the high lasts from5 to 20 minutes for marijuana to 2 to 4 hours for cocaine.

After the euphoric feeling subsides, a depressed feeling often follows. Complications from cocaine use can range from cardiac problems to nervous system problems that can even result in death.  To say it simply, cocaine use can be devastating and it has no place in a healthy living style.

 

Cocaine
Cocaine

 

Marijuana, or pot, is characterized by many people as a harmless drug because it creates a relaxed and dreamy high and seems to be less addicting than some other drugs. Nevertheless, a wide range of reactions to this drug has been documented. There appear to be some potential health problems related to its use.

 

Marijuana
Marijuana

 

The Choice is Yours

Drugs prescribed for medicine have a place in helping people to achieve better health. However, unwise use of drugs can severely mess up your health and reduce your quality of life. As you begin to realize how good it feels to be physically active and to be in good physical shape, it will be easier to refrain from destructive behaviors such as using drugs or alcohol. People who have achieved a high level of wellness do not use drugs. If they do drink alcohol, they do so in moderation and control.

The choice, of course, is yours. Exercise regularly, eat properly, get adequate rest, manage stress and refrain from drugs. You might be thinking that although these things are important they are not important during your high school or college years. You may feel that for now you want to enjoy being inactive, eat what you want and will have trouble when you want, sleep less, and enjoy the parties. After all, you only live one and are only young for a short time. But you are fooling yourself if you think that such living patterns now cannot have a negative effect on the quality of your life later on.

Summary

We know without a doubt there is no place for drug dependence in a health lifestyle. The best alternative to the instant gratification that recreational drugs offer is to adopt and maintain an active way of life. Being physically fit means having a body that can function at its optimal efficiency. This translates to robust health and the availability of excess energy to fully appreciate the joys life.

Drug abuse the choice is yours.
Drug abuse or healthy life? The choice is yours.

 

 

 

Summer Time

Summer Time

Summer time came way too late in my neck of the woods this year. It’s been an odd year weather-wise and personally, as well as across my country, a bit of a bitter-sweet time of life.

When things get like this, for me there is nothing better than taking a trip back in time to simpler days, kinder times, and gentler people via a good old-fashioned book.

For my “adventures” this time around, I choose the series of books by “Miss Read”.  I’m currently reading
Village Diary (The Fairacre Series #2).

Miss Read Village Diary Summer Time Ponderings
Miss Read Village Diary

Miss Read (1913-2012) was the pseudonym of Mrs. Dora Saint, a former schoolteacher beloved for her novels of English rural life, especially those set in the fictional villages of Thrush Green and Fairacre.

While reading this evening, a few paragraphs just begged to be shared. These paragraphs share how children amused themselves back in they days of innocence and hard work. How mother nature amused, taught and delighted both child and adult.

I’m going to share those paragraphs in hopes others may enjoy this sweet journey back in time to the goodness of nature.

How lucky country children are in these natural delights that be ready to their hand! Every season and every plant offers changing joys. As they meander along the lane that leads to our school all kinds of natural toys present themselves for their diversion.

The seedpods of stitchwort hang ready for delightful popping between thumb and finger. Later the bladder campion offers a larger, if less crisp, globe to burst. In the autumn, acorns, beechnuts and conkers bedizen their path, with all their manifold possibilities of fun.

In the summer time, there is an assortment of honeys to be sucked from bindweed flowers, held fragile and fragrant to the hungry lips, and the tiny funnels of honeysuckle and clover blossoms to taste.  Outside the Post Office grow three fine lime trees, murmurous with bees on summer afternoons, and these supply wide, soft young leaves in May, which the children spread over their opened mouths and, inhaling sharply, burst with a pleasant and satisfying explosion.

At about the same time of year the young hawthorn leaves are found good to eat. ‘Bread and cheese’ some call them. While the crisp sweet stalks of primroses form another delicacy, with the added delight of the thread like inner stalk which pulls out from the hairier outer sheath.

The summer time brings flower games, the heads and red satin skirts made from the turned-back petals. ‘He loves me, he don’t’ counted solemnly as the daisy petals flutter down, and ‘Bunny’s mouth’ made by pressing the sides of the yellow toadflax flowers which scramble over our chalky Fairacre banks.

And always, whatever the season, there is a flat ribbon of grass blade to be found which, when held between thumbs and blown upon, can emit the most hideous and ear-splitting screech, calculated to fray the nerves of any grownup, and warm the heart of any child within earshot.”

On so on it goes. Imagine living in such times, when nature was all that was needed to amuse and delight. When people treated each other with respect and kindness. When the body was far more than a mere sex object…

It sounds so wonderful.

Heart Rate Recovery Test

Heart Rate Recovery Test

A useful procedure for assessing your cardiorespiratory fitness is the heart rate recovery test in the form of a step test. Stepping on and off a bench for a 3 to 5 minute time period at a selected cadence has long been used for rating a person’s physical capacity for hard work and evaluating the effects of training.

Step Test

Although not considered the best predictor of cardiorespiratory fitness, the heart-rate during recovery from a standardized step test is a simple way to evaluate the heart’s response to exercise. The faster your heart rate recovers after the standardized exercise bout, the higher your fitness rating. The test is easy to administer on an individual basis or to a large group.

It takes little time, does not require special skills to perform, and requires a minimum of equipment. A locker room bench or bleachers, a watch, and a card for recording pulse counts. The testing can easily be done with the procedure described here.

Heart Rate Recovery Test Procedure

      1. A locker room bench (generally 18 inches high) is recommended for both men and women. A roll-out bleacher seat (usually 16 inches high) can be used. If neither is available, a sturdy chair (17 inches high) can be used. Step-test ratings presented in the table below are based on stepping up on an 18-inch bench.
      2. Work with a partner. When the tester gives the signal “Begin,” the watch is started and you start stepping onto the bench. First the left foot up, then the right foot up. Then left foot down, right foot down. This complete step  represents four counts. Note that it is permissible to change the up foot during the test. Step to the following cadence: 120 counts per minute or 30 complete step executions per minute (0ne four-count step every 2 seconds – up, up, down, down). In a group situation, the instructor will keep the cadence.
      3. Continue the exercise for 3 minutes. Keep the tempo and be sure to straighten your knees as you step on the bench. After stepping for 3 minutes, sit on a chair or straddle the bench facing your partner.
      4. One minute after the exercise period stops, the tester counts your pulse beats for 30 seconds. He or she should record the pulse for the following periods during recovery.
        • 1 to 1-1/2 minute
        • 2 to 2-1/2 minutes
        • 3 to 3-1/2 minutes

In a group situation, the instructor will call out “Begin” and “Stop” for each 30 second period.

To take your pulse, the tester presses lightly with the index and middle fingers on the inside of the wrist, thumb side.

For added accuracy the performer also can check his or her pulse at the carotid artery site, in the region just below the jawbone and just behind the Adam’s apple. This measurement provides a double check for accuracy, and the rate should not differ more than two beats from the tester’s count during a 30-second period.

A stethoscope, if available, provides the most accurate measurement.

Improper Procedures

  • Not keeping the cadence of 30 step executions per minute.
  • Failure to straighten the knees to full extension on the up steps.
  • Not counting the pulse accurately.

Scoring

The sum of the three 30 second pulse measurements is your recovery index.

Heart Rate Recovery Test Chart
Heart Rate Recovery Test Chart

 

Download the Heart Rate Recovery Test Instructions in PDF

Download the Heart Rate Recovery Test Instructions
Download the Heart Rate Recovery Test Instructions