By printing and/or reading this article, you agree that you accept all terms and conditions of use, as specified online.
You've decided to get in shape. You've checked things out with your doctor and gotten his or her OK. But how can someone monitor the intensity of their exercise while they're working out? That's where your target heart rate comes in.
Your target heart rate is a range at which your body is getting enough of a workout to get stronger, but without overdoing it. For most healthy adults, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends a target heart rate between 50 and 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. The rate changes depending on how old you are.
You can use our calculator to figure out your target heart rate. NHLBI says there is also a mathematical calculation you can do.
First, subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate. Then multiply that number by .5, and then by .75. The two resulting numbers are the low and high end of your target heart rate.
Here's an example. Let's say someone is 45 years old. 220 minus 45 equal 175. That's their maximum heart rate. 175 x .5 = 88 and 175 x .75 = 131. So, a 45 year old has a target heart rate between 88 and 131.
NHLBI says if someone is just starting out, they'll want to be in the lower part of the range, pushing more as they get in better shape.
The American Council on Exercise suggests you check you heart rate during and right after you exercise. ACE says the two easiest places to check your pulse are:
You should count the number of pulses in ten seconds and then multiply by 6. If you get 20 beats in 10 seconds, then your pulse is 120.
A number of medications alter your heart rate and therefore will alter your target heart rate. You need to discuss any exercise program with your physician. Also keep in mind that many herbal supplements (Read about "Herbal Precautions"), will affect your heart rate and need to be taken into consideration as well. Always remember while exercising to pay attention to your body. If you get dizzy or lightheaded or experience chest pains, you should stop immediately and seek medical help.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
© Concept Communications Media Group LLC