Overtraining: A Simple Test Through Your Heart Rate

We know that we must train hard in order to achieve our goals, but how hard is too hard? We provide you this week with a very simple test to see if you are overtraining. This test is known as the Orthostatic Heart Rate Test, and it involves calculating your heart rate, then calculating it again after a very small effort.

To begin, you will need a stopwatch so you can measure your heart rate. In order to measure your heart rate, find a place on your body (just to the side of your Adam’s apple, or on your wrist), and calculate the number of pulses in 10 seconds. Then multiply that number by 6 and you have your heart rate in beats per minute.

Now, follow these simple instructions:

1) Lay down and rest for at least 15 minutes

2) Record your heart rate – we will call this R1

3) Stand Up <-small effort!

4) Record your heart rate again – call this R2

5) Record the difference between R2 and R1.

If this difference is greater than 15-20 beats, then you are probably overtraining. You have not fully recovered from the previous day’s workout and you should consider adjusting your workout routine.

info from (Swaim, Saviano, Edwards, 2002)

Edmund S. Crelin, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy at the Yale University School of Medicine, served as an expert witness in the case and supplied detailed analyses of various claims. With respect to the above, he stated:

Nerves do not give off a flow of nerve energy. Nerves are gland cells. They produce and release a hormone that causes the inhibition or the contraction of muscle cells and the inhibition or enhancement of secretion by a gland cell that includes another nerve cell. That is all they do, no more, no less. They do not actually conduct electricity or any other form of energy.

When a nerve cell undergoes its function of secreting a hormone, changes occur in its outer cell membrane that allow electrically-charged ions to move in and out of the cell in a step-wise fashion along the full extent of the nerve. This is what really occurs when a nerve is described as “conducting an impulse” or “firing.” A spinal nerve at the intervertebral opening is actually a thin tube of connective tissue containing the extensions of millions of nerve cells. These extensions are the axons that are also described as “fibers.” This latter term is misleading because it connotes a certain firmness such as fine wires would have. Nothing could be more incorrect. The axons are delicate, flimsy structures. Since they are merely elongated or drawn out parts of cells they need nourishment along with the cells that make up their sheaths. Therefore, delicate blood vessels are contained in what is called a nerve at the visible level. If compression of a nerve does not directly kill the axons, the axons may die because the compression cuts off the flow of blood in the vessels of the nerve. Compression of a nerve cell anywhere along its extent can cause it to secrete its hormone. If it is a sensory nerve cell, it can cause the brain to experience pain. If it is a motor nerve cell, the hormone can cause a muscle cell to contract.

If the motor nerve cells to a skeletal (voluntary) muscle die, the muscle will be paralyzed and also die. This is because the motor nerve cells continuously supply skeletal muscle cells with substances needed for their survival, above and beyond the hormone the nerve cells secrete to make the muscle contract. This is not the case with the motor nerve cells to glands, heart muscle, or smooth (involuntary) muscle. Complete severance of the motor nerves from the spinal nerves to the heart, glands (salivary, thyroid, liver, pancreas, etc.), and smooth muscle of the lungs, esophagus, stomach, gall bladder, intestines, etc., has only transient effects. The gland cells and smooth and cardiac muscle cells not only survive, but function normally. They surely do not become diseased.