Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER
Resting Heart Rate

Very fit people often have a slow heart rate, but resting heart rate is not a reliable measure of fitness. In one study, a 20-week program of endurance training did not slow the resting heart rate, showing that it cannot be used as a measure of your improvement. Your recovery heart rate is far more dependable.

Check how long it takes for your heart to slow down after you've exercised vigorously. Exercise in your sport as hard as you can for 10 minutes or more. Then stop and immediately place your finger on the side of your neck where you feel a pulse. Count your pulse for only six seconds and multiply that number times ten to get your heart rate per minute. Wait exactly sixty seconds and then count your pulse again for six seconds and again multiply that number times ten. Do not count your pulse for more than six seconds because your heart slows down immediately after you stop exercising. The longer you count your pulse, the more it will slow down. If you have a heart rate monitor, just check your heart rate when you stop your hard exercise, and check it again exactly one minute later.

If your heart does not slow down at least thirty beats per minute in the first minute, you are in poor shape. If it slows down more than fifty beats in the first minute, you are in excellent shape. This test is a good way to measure progress in your fitness program. Do not use this test if there is any question of heart damage; hard exercise cannot hurt a healthy heart, but it can cause irregular heart beats in people who have damaged hearts.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can you tell me the difference in size between a pound of muscle and a pound of fat? I teach fitness and many people become upset when they gain instead of losing weight. They prefer the scale to a measuring tape.

The ratio is 1:1.7, so muscle is almost twice as dense as fat. (A pound of fat is 1.7 times bigger than a pound of muscle.) Also remind your students that muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle they have, the more calories they burn 24 hours a day, not just while exercising.


Reports from
What causes of chronic hives?
Can supplements replace fruits and vegetables?
Is chewing tobacco worse than smoking?
How is vaginal burning diagnosed and treated?


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Will “carb blocker” pills help me to lose weight?

Any carbohydrates that are not broken down and absorbed in your intestines will pass to your colon where they are fermented by bacteria. If a "carb blocker" prevented absorbtion of enough carbohydrates to have a significant impact on weight loss, you would have terrible cramping, gas and diarrhea. These products are a waste of money because if they actually worked as promised, they would make you so miserable that you would never take them again. More on diet gimmicks


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is caffeine addicting?

Yes, but dependence on caffeine lasts only for a few days. You are dependent on a chemical when you become sick from not being able to take it. When regular coffee drinkers are suddenly deprived of their morning fix, they may suffer from headaches, fatigue and depression and be unable to function at their usual level of efficiency.

Moderate use of coffee, tea or soft drinks with caffeine is not harmful to most people, but caffeine can make you shaky, raise blood pressure, cause irregular heart beats or interfere with sleep. If you have these symptoms and want to stop drinking caffeinated beverages, doctors recommend that you stop cold turkey at a time when you don't need to function at your best for a few days. The headaches, fatigue and depression should pass in a short time. Nobody should associate caffeine dependence or addiction, which is relatively harmless, with alcohol or nicotine dependence which have severe health consequences. Each year, misuse of alcohol causes more than 100,000 deaths in the United States and smoking causes more than 400,000 deaths.


Springtime means lots of lovely baby potatoes in the produce department. Try these recipes – two for salads and one a delicious, easy ratatouille.

New Potato Salad
Green Bean-Potato Salad
Ratatouille with Baby Potatoes

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

June 27th, 2013
|   Share this Report!

About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER
Copyright 2019 Drmirkin | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Xindesigns