Off the Road Testing

A commercial driver has to maintain a medical card and pass a complete pyhsical at least every two years. I can see where it might be a challenge for drivers on the road to maintain good cadio health. One way that doctors use to test your heart health is by administering a stress test.


Yesterday I participated in my first Stress Test on a treadmill (or dreadmill as my wife calls it). This is a test used to examine how your heart responds exercise (stress).

I checked into North Cypress Medical Center at 12:10pm and the fun was over by 1:45pm. Not bad considering that nurse Paula had me all wired and ready to go, when, she got a call that a patient who had refused the test 20 minutes earlier, but had a change of heart (pun intended), decided to go ahead with the test and so she would get to go before me since her doctor was waiting. It was about 12:50pm when Paula apologitically started unhooking me and asked me to go sit in the waiting room.

Luckily the wait was only about 15 minutes. Paula hooked me up again and Dr. Wynn came in just in time to start the test. Starting BP was 108/70 and heart rate 54. Oh, and the reason that I’m here, my family physician had concerns on my EKG last month about my resting heart rate of 52 to 54.  Which I didn’t completely understand since Lance Armstrong’s resting rate is 34. Although,  for most people the 60 to 70 range is considered average.

Where were we? Oh yeh, so the treadmill starts on about a 3% incline at a walking pace, maybe a level 3.5 to 4 speed. Then every three minutes it increases the speed up a notch. The Doctor’s goal was for me to reach 85% of my maximum heart rate. The maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus my age. So I need to reach a heart rate of 142. Do the math.

On my third 3-minute cycle I was at a nice jogging speed. About the middle of my fifth cycle I reached 145 and the doctor said that if I felt comfortable he’d like me to continue. So I did. The cycle ended with my heart rate at 158. Enough.

The final outcome was that Dr. Wynn said that my heart responded perfectly normal. This is what I had expected since I typically workout three to four times a week. Though my routine sometimes lapses depending on my schedule, the past few months have been pretty consistent.

If you have a hectic schedule, children at home, travel a lot or just cannot find time to exercise I will have some tips for you in my next post that might help you.

Down the Road – Mike


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