Do you exert yourself vigorously when you exercise or not enough? Making sure that you are pushing yourself enough–but not too hard–can help you get the most out of your physical activity by ensuring that you are exercising at the proper intensity. One good way to do this is by monitoring heart rate, since exercising and heart rate are linked to each other.
We explain what exercise intensity is and how to maximize your workout using heart rate measurements.
Using Heart Rate to Determine Exercise Intensity
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, healthy people should get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. Whether you prefer moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking, swimming, or lawn mowing, or vigorous aerobic exercises like jogging or aerobic dance, try for at least a couple of hours.
To determine how intense your workout is, observe how fast your heart beats. A maximal heart rate, which represents the upper limit of your cardiovascular system’s resistance to exercise, must first be determined.
To figure out your maximum heart rate, subtract your current age from 220. While participating in the activity, your heart should not beat more than this many times a minute on average.
You can determine your desired heart rate zone by determining your maximum heart rate. This is the point at which your heart is properly trained and conditioned, but not overworked.
According to the American Heart Association, the target heart rate during exercise should be:
Moderate intensity exercise:
50 – 70 percent of maximal heart rate
70 – 85 percent of maximal heart rate
If you are not in shape or just starting an exercise program, shoot for the lower end of your heart rate zone. As you progress, increase the difficulty level. Those who are in good health and who wish to work out vigorously should choose the upper end of the zone.
Using a heart rate monitoring smartwatch like a Fitbit or Garmin can be very helpful in tracking where your heart rate falls within these zones. Using a smartwatch while running or working out at the gym allows you to collect and display data about how long you were in each heart rate zone to help you optimize your workout.
Important Heart Rate Considerations
Keep in mind that the maximum heart rate is just a guideline. You may have a greater or lower maximal heart rate than usual, sometimes by up to 20 beats per minute. A personal trainer can provide you with more precise information about your target heart rate zone.
Knowing your resting heart rate (your heart rate when you’ve been still for a while, like after a good night’s sleep) can also give you an idea of whether your heart rate trends a little lower or higher than typical. Slightly different calculations are also generally used to come up with target heart rates for men and women.
Furthermore, medications that reduce your maximum heart rate, such as certain blood pressure medications, can affect your heart rate target zone. Consult your doctor to determine if you should aim for a lower heart rate target because of any medications you are taking or any medical problems you are experiencing.
Exercising and Heart Rate FAQs
What heart rate is dangerous?
Long lengths of time at a heart rate greater than your maximum heart rate might be harmful to your health. This is particularly true if you do not exercise. It is generally harmful for you to exercise if your heart rate surpasses 185 beats per minute.
What heart rate burns fat?
Your fat-burning heart rate will be about 70% of your maximal heart rate.
What heart rate should I run at?
When jogging or running, your target heart rate should be between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. If your heart rate falls below this level, ramp up the pace to improve your exercise outcomes.
Is it safe when my heart rate jumps up and down?
The electrical system of the heart normally works flawlessly, but we are seldom consciously aware of it. Some individuals are more naturally sensitive to their heart rhythms, particularly at night when everything else is quiet. However, when heart rhythm irregularities occur they can be concerning.
Changes in heart rhythm are typically innocuous. Our heart rate fluctuates throughout the day in response to our body’s needs, whether it’s for climbing the stairs or engaging in strenuous activities. The changes in pace that occur as a consequence of physical effort are totally normal.
Alterations in heart rhythm may also be caused by other common occurrences. Mild dehydration causes the heart to beat quicker in an effort to keep blood flowing when there is less available for each beat.
Another reason to inform your health care provider about your medication and supplement regimens is that a change in prescription or a drug combination might result in a temporarily irregular heartbeat.
While the solution may be as simple as resting, rehydrating, or switching medications, we frequently have no idea why we’re experiencing a change in our heart rhythms or if it’s an indicator of a more severe medical condition. Always check with your doctor if you experience concerning heart rate or rhythm irregularities.
Last Updated on March 1, 2022
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