What Should Your Heart Rate Be?
You’re ready to jump into that heart-pumping activity and intensive cardiovascular exercise session, but are you doing more harm than good? Most people don’t realize how important it is to keep your heart rate at a certain level while exercising, and you need to maintain a specific heart rate when you want to lose weight or improve your fitness level.
If you’re not increasing your heart rate enough — or pushing yourself too hard and getting it too high — you won’t be getting the most out of your exercise routine. You can determine if you’re working out at the optimal level by using a heart rate monitor.
How a Heart Rate Monitor Works
A heart rate monitor is one of the simplest tools for measuring your heart rate while exercising and will give you a fairly accurate idea of what level your heart is performing at any given time. A heart rate monitor works by measuring your pulse; it is strapped onto your arm or chest to measure the frequency of your heartbeat. This will give you an idea of how hard your body is working so you know how to adjust your level of activity.
Calculating Your Heart Rate for Fitness
Your target heart rate will depend on your fitness goals, your current age and your body weight. You can calculate your target heart zone by using online target heart rate calculators or the traditional formula. The traditional formula for calculating your maximum heart rate is simply 220 minus your age. However, this is not necessarily an accurate number for your specific health and fitness level.
Plug in your weight and age into an online calculator to determine your maximum heart rate to get the most accurate numbers, and then proceed to use these numbers for different types of activities. These calculators typically take your height, gender and weight into account so they are a better starting point for your calculations.
Here is a simple one you can try: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/target-heart-rate/SM00083
So how do you know what your heart rate or optimal range should be for cardiovascular exercises? Here are some tips to calculate your ideal rate:
- Anaerobic (intense) heart rate: Multiply your maximum heart rate by 90 percent
- Cross training/interval: Multiply your maximum heart rate by 80 percent
- Moderate aerobic (light cardiovascular exercises): Multiply your maximum heart rate by 70 percent
- Light cardio (very light cardiovascular exercise): Multiply your maximum heart rate by 60 percent
- Keep in mind that these different zones correspond to how your body is burning up fat and calories.
For most people, reaching the 60 percent ‘ light cardio) range is the optimal level for fat burning. This might involve exercises like step aerobics, fast-paced walking or even jogging. The 90 percent range (intense/anaerobic) is the optimal range for increasing stamina and endurance. This might involve exercises like sprinting, running and jumping rope. To get the most out of your workouts, you will need to select a range and make sure you’re performing within that range for at least 20 minutes. Using a heart rate monitor can help you get there and help you keep maintain a healthy level of exercise, no matter what your fitness level may be.