Cardiovascular Fitness (Katie Flanagan)

Research Question and Hypothesis

Question: How does cardiovascular training over time effect recovery heart rate after moderate to vigorous physical activity?

Hypothesis: Over time, your recovery heart rate will drop more rapidly after moderate to vigorous physical activity.


Science 5.2.b. Students know how blood circulates through the heart chambers, lungs and body and how carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged in the lungs and tissues. 

Physical Education 7.4.4 Explain the effects of physical activity on heart rate during exercise, during the recovery phase, and while the body is at rest.

Experimental Design

For the first measurement, students will run at a moderate to vigorous level for 4 minutes. As soon as that 4 minutes is up, they will take a 15 second heart rate and record the beats, after 30 seconds they will take a 15 second heart rate again and record the beats, after 30 more seconds they will take their heart rate again, and they will repeat this 2 more times.  After they have 5 numbers written down they will multiply each of those numbers times 4 to get a heart rate for each of the recovery times.  The first heart rate will be the their exercising heart rate and the next 4 will be recovery heart rates.

For the next 10 weeks, students will train at least 3 days a week doing cardio runs.  The time of the run will increase by 1 minute every 3 runs.

On week 10, students will follow the procedures above again to see if their recovery heart rate has changed at all.  

Independent variable

The independent variable is time.  The students will be finding their heart rates immediately after they finish their exercise, then after 30 seconds, then after 1 min, then after 1 min 30 sec, then after 2 min. 

Dependent variables

The dependent variable is heart rate. The students will measure their own heart rate by counting their pulse for 15 second then multiplying that number times 4.  There is a degree of inaccuracy here due to the student's precise ability to take their heart rates, however, I will be finding averages to hopefully lessen this discrepancy.


Students will test their recovery heart rate during week 1 of training, week 10 of training, and week 20 of training to determine the effects of the training.

Constants and Controls

Constants:  The students in the study, the way the students measure their heart rates, the time increments they are measuring their recovery heart rates.  

Control: The controls will be where they are running


Students will need a record sheet to record their heart rates and a pencil.  A record sheet can be made on the computer.  I have included one in the resources below. A field, track, or open running space will be needed.  You will need a stopwatch to determine the times for students to take their heart rates.


  • Decide on a safe running space for the students
  • Tell students they need to run at a moderate to vigorous pace (heart rate = 130-170) for the entire time (start at a short time for week 1... I suggest 3 or 4 minutes so students are successful) 
  • As soon as the time is up have students take a 15 second pulse (I use a set of whistle commands... 1 whistle- find your pulse, 2 whistles- start counting, 3 whistles- stop counting and record)
  • After 30 seconds start your whistle commands again.  Again students will record their 15 second pulse.
  • Repeat this 3 more times until students have 5, 15 second pulse's written down.
  • Students will multiply each of those numbers times 4 to get their heart rate at each of those time increments.
  • Collect the papers and input the data in an excel sheet
  • Train at least 3 days a week doing cardio exercises in the moderate to vigorous range increases the amount of time students run every 3 runs.
  • Repeat the process explained above after 10-15 weeks.
  • Again input the data in an excel sheet
  • Average out the heart rates at each of the intervals.
  • Graph the data to determine if there was a change in the recovery heart rates from week 1 to week 10-15.

Sample data and graphs

Average Heart Rates- Week 1

Average Heart Rates- Week 10

Analysis & Conclusions

Based on the data collected on week 1 and week 10, I would conclude that the student's exercising heart rates were very similar, however, their recovery heart rate dropped slightly more rapidly during week 10 then in week 1 based on the 1 min and 1 min 30 sec recovery heart rates taken.
Katie Flanagan,
Dec 13, 2011, 3:33 PM