How Fit Are You? Take the 2 Minute Heart Rate Recovery Test

Heart rate recovery is a great way to assess your fitness level; the quicker your heart rate recovers, the more fit your heart and body is. It is one of those factors like Resting Heart Rate and Fitness Assessments that can tell you a lot about your body and fitness.

The original idea for the recovery had it’s roots in the Bruce Protocol, which basically takes a short but stressful treadmill test and was able to see a correlation between how fast the heart recovered and how fit or potentially unfit the subjects cardiovascular system.

We’ve found over the years that endurance or low effort activities have very different recovery rates. We enjoy measuring our recovery after a good hard workout, but for general informational purposes only. See below for a sample test and generalized results using the 2 minute recovery from Enhanced Medical Care.

Running the Heart Rate Recovery In-App Feature

When your workout is paused (while wearing a heart rate monitor), instead of tapping End Workout, tap Recovery.

Fitdigits will begin a 2:00 minute countdown.

Stop your activity and focus on breathing, relaxing and bringing your heart rate down. Take long (slow) deep breaths, breath through your nose and relax. Watch your recovery on the chart which will show how many beats your heart rate has slowed since the start of the recovery period.

Heart Rate Recovery
2 minute heart rate recovery

After 2 minutes, Fitdigits apps will display your recovery results including the percent of recovery by minutes. In the example, my heart rate recovered 15% or 20 beats per minute in the first minute, only halfway through recovery. By the end of the recovery, my heart rate was down to 105, a total drop of 28 BPM, or 21%. These results generally show a healthy recovery. According to the test published below, that puts me in the “Your biological age is about the same as your calendar age” category. I’ll take that, but try to improve as well.


Enhanced Medical Care Heart Rate Recovery Test

Enhanced Medical Care offers a good guide to a healthy recovery:

Age Target Zone 2-Zone 3
20-29 120-160
30-39 114-152
40-49  108-144
50-59  102-136
 60-69  96-128
 70-79  90-120
 80-89  84-112
90-99 78-104
100+ 72-96
Click here to see our rant on how off 220-Age can be for heart rate zones, and how to make them better with Fitness Assessments.

Do any exercise you want to until you hit Zone 2 through Zone 3 (60%-80%), that is your Target BPM before starting recovery. Then tap/swipe for pause, then tap Recovery.

Subtract your 2-minute heart rate from the heart rate you took immediately after exercising. The faster your heart rate recovers (or slows down ) the fitter and healthier your heart.

If the difference between the two numbers is:

< 22 BPM Your biological age is slightly older than your calendar age.
22-52 BPM Your biological age is about the same as your calendar age.
53-58 BPM Your biological age is slightly younger than your calendar age.
59-65 BPM Your biological age is moderately younger than your calendar age.
66+ BPM  Your biological age is a lot younger than your calendar age.


6 thoughts on “How Fit Are You? Take the 2 Minute Heart Rate Recovery Test”

  1. I am not really clear on this test. I did a 5 K this morning, on a treadmill, and at the end I did a final sprint to a HR of 169. The I told DigiFit to measure recovery. I drew a 33% drop to 114 after 2 minutes. I am 60, you (Brandon) are a 20-something. Either I am super fit or you need to visit a cardiologist!

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