A great simple way to test the overall condition of the heart is to perform Gelbart’s walking heart rate recovery test. Simply walk on a treadmill increasing the speed and incline gradually (every 2 minutes) until your heart rate reaches the rate of 180 bpm –your age at about the 12-15 minute mark, remember no running, walking only and using a quality heart rate monitor is the most efficient and easy method.
After your heart rate has settled at the desired rate (180 –age), press stop on the treadmill, step off and sit down and rest for exactly 60 seconds. If after 60 seconds your heart rate recovers more than 20 beats, then your heart is in good general exercising condition. For example, if you are 40 years old , your target heart rate is 140 bpm. After 60 seconds rest your heart rate should drop below 120 bpm.
If you don’t recover 20 beats or more, then it’s time to start exercising in your heart rate zone more often. If you have an existing heart rate condition or other illness preventing you from moderate exercise you should notperform this test alone. If you are unsure, then use a personal trainer.