Do you feel like some exercises make your heart race while others make you feel as though you’re not exercising at all? Your heart is trying to speak to you and it’s important that you understand what it’s trying to say!
Heart rate is measured in beats per minute. During rest, a low beats per minute count is a signal of a healthy heart. This is because a stronger heart pumps more blood out to your body per beat than a weaker heart does, lowering the beats needed per minute. When we exercise, our heart has to work harder to get oxygen out to the demanding muscles that are being worked. The more frequently you exercise, the stronger your heart will become. Using a heart rate monitor can not only help you gauge how effective your workouts are, but can also be used to tell you if your body is working too hard, or not hard enough.
How to Find Your Target Heart Rate
To start, determine your Resting Heart Rate, which is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it is at rest. This number is best found first thing in the morning before getting out of bed after having a good night of sleep.
According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate:
- for children 10 years and older, and adults (including seniors) is 60 – 100 beats per minute
- for well-trained athletes is 40 – 60 beats per minute
After you know your resting heart rate, determine your Maximum Heart Rate, which is around 220 – Age for a simple calculation.
According to the American Heart Association, target heart rates for moderate activities and exercises are about 50-69% of your max heart rate. More intense activities range from 70-90% of your maximum heart rate. It is recommended that you exercise within 55 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 20 to 30 minutes to get the best results from exercise.
How to Use a Heart Rate Monitor During Exercise
Using a heart rate monitor during physical activity can help you to determine if you’re working moderately or if you’re exercising more intensely. As you continue to exercise more frequently, your heart starts to work more efficiently. Over time, you may notice you need to increase the intensity of your workouts in order to stay in your target heart rate zone. The harder you have to work to reach your target heart rate zone, the healthier and stronger your heart is! The heart rate monitor will allow you to track this progress over time and can help to eliminate some errors of taking your heart rate yourself during exercise which can be difficult.