Heart Rates should be tracked.
How do you get your heart rate in the target zone?
First Things First: Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest. A good time to check it is in the morning after you’ve had a good night’s sleep, before you get out of bed or grab that first cup of java!
For most of us, between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm) is normal.1 The rate can be affected by factors like stress, anxiety, hormones, medication, and how physically active you are. An athlete or more active person may have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute. Now that’s chill!
When it comes to resting heart rate, lower is better. It usually means your heart muscle is in better condition and doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. Studies have found that a higher resting heart rate is linked with lower physical fitness and higher blood pressure and body weight.
Know Your Numbers: Maximum and Target Heart Rate
This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3
In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity it’s about 70-85% of maximum.
The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.
|Target HR Zone 50-85%
|Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
|100-170 beats per minute (bpm)
Hit the Target: Find Your Heart Rate
Now that you have a target, you can monitor your heart rate to make sure you’re in the zone. As you exercise, periodically check your heart rate. A wearable activity tracker makes it super easy, but if you don’t use one you can also find it manually:
- Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
- Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) and press lightly over the artery.
- Count your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to find your beats per minute.
Important Note: Some drugs and medications affect heart rate, meaning you may have a lower maximum heart rate and target zone. If you have a heart condition or take medication, ask your healthcare provider what your heart rate should be.
So what’s in a number?
If your heart rate is too high, you’re straining. Slow your roll! If it’s too low, and the intensity feels “light” to “moderate,” you may want to push yourself to exercise a little harder, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
If you’re just starting out, aim for the lower range of your target zone (50 percent) and gradually build up. In time, you’ll be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Woo hoo!
You can learn more about how to assist heart related issues by enrolling in the heart instructors course in conducting skills practice and skills testing sessions for Heartsaver eLearning courses.
source: American Heart Association