Exercise Makes Your Heart More Efficient
Typical resting heart rate can vary quite substantially between people and even within an individual. Around 60-80 beats per minute for adults is common.
Heart rate can be easily be measured with devices like FitBits and Apple Watches, although they have their limitations.
Improving your aerobic fitness reduces your resting heart rate, as the heart becomes more efficient with each beat. An athletes resting heart rate, for instance, is typically around 40 BPM.
In fact, evidence suggests that long-term exercise training increases the size of the heart, specifically the left ventricle, a phenomenon known as Athletes Heart. A bigger heart means more blood can be pumped with each beat, and fewer beats per minute are required to maintain blood flow around the body. This is a beneficial physiological adaptation allowing athletes to exercise at higher intensities for longer.
Is Resting Heart Rate Different By Age
For most of us , between 60 and 100 beats per minute 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 thats chill!
When it comes to resting heart rate, lower is better. It usually means your heart muscle is in better condition and doesnt 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.2
How To Calculate Maximum Heart Rate With A Field Test
Besides estimations and tests, you can calculate max heart rate by putting on your running shoes, firing up your heart rate monitor, and heading out into the real world.
You wont need fancy laboratory equipment for the field test but youll still get an accurate and personal estimation of your maximum heart rate. The premise is simple: you warm up properly and then do an exercise that brings you close to your maximum effort.
Please note that for a maximum effort field test its best to call a friend and have them join you, just to be on the safe side. Also, make sure you have some hard training under your belt from recent weeks.
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Importance Of Determining Maximum Heart Rate
Your heart rate helps you to determine your fitness level. Knowing your maximum heart rate can assist you to avoid over training which affects the quality of your exercising. If you have a low heart rate, then you are likely to under-train as this leads to low-intensity exercises. Additionally, Individuals who under-train will take considerably longer to see the outcomes they wish.
Being aware of your maximum heart rate will help you to avoid pushing your body beyond your fitness level. Over-training may result in dehydration and therefore put you at risk of fainting or getting chronic infections.
A persons resting heart rate provides one with a great approach into ones personalized heart rate zone sets. Progress in due course and training can be shown by it, offering one a vital feedback on health and the level of fitness.
What Is My Maximum Heart Rate
So now youre ready to start calculating max heart rate, where should you start?
If youve ever attempted to calculate resting heart rate, then is obviously the opposite of this. Instead of calming your heart down, youre going to push it to the limit.
Calculating maximum heart rate requires that youre ready to sweat and have the right equipment to measure it for you. If youre simply curious to know what is my max heart rate, then you can always start by using the tools below to estimate it.
Is there anything that will influence your maximum heart rate? Factors such as age, fitness level, stress and medication like beta blockers will affect your heart rate.
Does your sex affect your max heart rate? To calculate max heart rate male or female is exactly the same. However, you may be interested to know that smaller people usually have a higher maximum heart rate, which is why women often have a higher rate than men.
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Calculate Maximum Heart Rate During A Laboratory Test
A much more formal way to calculate maximum heart rate would be to take a supervised laboratory test. Also known as VO2 max test, such analysis is a test of athletes physiological capabilities and, therefore, pushes athletes to the absolute maximum.
The protocol is quite simple athlete runs on a treadmill with an ever-increasing speed/power until complete exhaustion. Throughout the test a lot of data is gathered about athletes current fitness .
Ultimately, the test determines not only the Max HR, but also aerobic, anaerobic and lactate thresholds. All this data helps to analyse how training is impacting the body and if something should be changed/adjusted.
VO2 max tests are always supervised by exercise physiologist or cardiologist and/or other personnel, which makes it a much safer environment than a field test.
What Does A High Rate Mean
A high active heart rate can mean that a person is exercising too vigorously. If a person finds that their heart rate is higher than the recommended range, they should slow down or take a break.
Although it is beneficial for workouts to be somewhat challenging, it is not healthy to push the heart too hard.
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Wahoo Tickr X Bluetooth Hr Chest Strap
Its important that the partner wears the watch, so that you can focus on digging deep and not being distracted looking at the watch. This will help you calculate maximum heart rate with more accuracy.
The protocol is similar to the VO2 max test: start the test at around 100-120 beats per minute and increase heart rate by ~5 beats every 15 seconds until you can no longer increase it.
Your partners role is to look at the watch and shout total time and heart rate every 15 seconds. After you can no longer increase your heart rate for more than two 15-second intervals its time to stop. By that time you shoud have reached your maximum heart rate.
Testing Max Hr For Running
A ramp test is ideal for finding your max heart rate as it can help you do so in an efficient way, meaning less total stress on the body overall.
Its a good idea to have someone else there to operate the treadmill and to tether yourself to the treadmills emergency stop cord.
After your warm-up, start the treadmill your 5km pace and at 0% incline. Then, every two minutes, increase the incline by 2%. Keep following this pattern and your effort levels and heart rate will steadily rise.
Keep going until you absolutely cannot sustain the pace any longer. Youre looking for the point that youre totally spent and incapable of taking another step.
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Understanding Your Target Heart Rate
Nearly all exercise is good. But to be sure youre getting the most fromyour workout yet staying at a level thats safe for you, you can monitorhow hard your heart is working.
Aiming for whats called a target heart rate can help you do this, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Seth Martin, M.D., M.P.H. Think of it as the sweet spot between not exercising hard enough and overexerting.
What Does A Low Active Heart Rate Mean
A low active heart rate can mean that a person is not exercising intensely enough to benefit from the activity. For example, if a person is walking or jogging slowly, their heart rate may not be within the ideal range.
People with no underlying conditions who notice that they have a low active heart rate may want to increase the intensity of their workout to get it within the recommended range.
However, if someone is new to regular exercise or has a health condition that affects their ability to exercise, it may be better to aim for the lower end of the range initially.
The American Heart Association recommends that these individuals aim for 50% and gradually work upward as they develop more strength and stamina.
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Target Heart Rate For Exercise
Your target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. It is the level at which your heart is beating with moderate to high intensity. To determine your maximum heart rate, take 220 and subtract your age.
Sustaining a workout at this pace improves cardiorespiratory endurance. So knowing your target heart rate helps you pace your workouts. Exercising at the right level of intensity will help you avoid burning out or wasting time with a workout thats not vigorous enough to help you meet your goals.
Can I Go Over My Estimated Maximum Heart Rate
The answer is yes.
But its not in a sense that the heart would explode if someone goes beyond what formula would suggest is Max HR. No, its because formula generalizes people and tends to get imprecise for very fit athletes and people of older age who are very active.
Maximum heart rate does decrease with age, but not nearly as much as formulas would suggest . It goes down mostly due to the decreased level of overall activity.
In fact, trained athletes dont really see a drop in maximum heart rate until they end their careers and reduce training volume. Its not uncommon to see a 40-year-old athlete with a maximum heart rate of 195 where a formula would suggest only 180.
Setting a Max HR benchmark too low would force athlete to under-exert himself and not get the optimal benefit from training.
In any case, if an athlete is serious about his training, estimating maximum heart rate should only be a starting point. After getting into a structured training or competing in races it should become clearer where the true maximum heart rate is.
Heart Rate Zone Training
Have questions about heart rate training? Need help with your new & fancy sports watch? Ready to take your training to the next level?
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Maximum Heart Rate Calculator
With our HRmax Calculator you can estimate your maximum heart rate based on age and gender. Knowing your own maximum heart rate is important in your own personal exercise training. It is also of great importance for exercise stress testing to uncover cardiovascular disease. Our calculator will only give a rough estimate, and we also give recommendations on how to find your real maximum heart rate with an exhaustive exercise test.
Is It Bad To Exercise At Your Maximum Heart Rate
Most people will not be able to exercise at their MHR for more than a minute at a time. In reality, unless youre a professional athlete, youre unlikely to train above your anaerobic threshold for any considerable period.
While exercising intermittently at your MHR isnt necessarily bad for you if youre otherwise healthy, one study from Dalhousie University did find that recreational hockey players who frequently exceeded their MHR took longer to recover after exercise.
So, if you do want to train above your MHR, its best to consult your doctor first.
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Search For Cardiologists Near You And Schedule Your Next Appointment Today
Have you ever felt your heart beating quickly during a workout and stopped to check your pulse on your wrist or neck? Your pulse determines your heart rate, or how many times your heart beats in one minute. Pulse rates differ from person to person based on various factors, such as weight and activity level. To get the best results, you should exercise below your maximum heart rate in what is referred to as your target heart rate this will guarantee that you are achieving the ideal intensity level for your goals. Knowing and monitoring your maximum heart rate while you’re active can be a powerful gauge of your intensity level and help you to avoid over- or underexercising.
Heart Rate by Age
The traditional method, also known as HRmax, is a simple way of gauging your maximum heart rate. Start by subtracting your age from 220. Then, use the result to calculate your range.
For example, if you’re 50 years old, the calculation would be: 220 – 50 = 170 . To calculate your heart rate on the high end of the suitable range , multiply 170 by 0.75 to get about 128 beats per minute .
Heart Rate by Age and Gender
Heart Rate by Age and Resting Heart Rate
For example, a 50-year-old with a resting heart rate of 65 would calculate as follows:
- 220 – 50 = 170 for HRmax
- 170 – 65 = 105 for RHR
- + 65 = about 144 bpm
Training With Heart Rate
Once youve selected a heart rate monitor, the trick is putting the information you glean from the watch or strap to use. After calculating your estimated MHR, determine your different heart rate zones by multiplying your MHR by the percentage for each zone. For example, if you wanted to find 55 percent of your maximum, you multiple your MHR by 0.55.
- Zone 1: 55 percent to 65 percent: This is a very comfortable effort used for warmup and cooldown.
- Zone 2: 65 percent to 75 percent: Used for the bulk of training, this relaxed effort allows you to hold a conversation.
- Zone 3: 75 percent to 85 percent: This is a comfortably hard effort during which you can only say short, broken sentences.
- Zone 4: 85 percent to 95 percent: Often a 5K pace, this is a very hard effort thats sustainable, but only lets you speak a few words at a time.
This will give you ranges of beats per minute for each percentage of maximum heart rate. Then pre-determine the zone you want to work in during each running routine. As you run, you can check your heart rate monitor to make sure youre staying in the desired zone.
And luckily, there are apps that help manage this type of training for you. I love using Garmin Connect Software and Strava, says Castro. I can plug my zones into my Garmin and track the time spent in each zone as well as track my overall progress toward my goal with specific data.
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How To Calculate Your Target Heart Rate
This article was co-authored by Steve Bergeron. Steve Bergeron is a Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, and the Co-Owner of AMP Fitness in Boston, Massachusetts. With over a decade of experience, Steve specializes in educating, guiding, and empowering his clients to develop healthy habits and reach their individual fitness goals. He holds a BS in Exercise Physiology and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach , ASCM Health and Fitness Specialist , Strong First Kettlebell Coach , and Certified Functional Movement Screen Specialist . AMP Fitness mission is to create a community that is inclusive and gives people the tools and support they need to succeed.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,656,595 times.
Target Heart Rate And Estimated Maximum Heart Rate
For moderate-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 64% and 76%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate based on your age. To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 50 years = 170 beats per minute . The 64% and 76% levels would be:
- 64% level: 170 x 0.64 = 109 bpm, and
- 76% level: 170 x 0.76 = 129 bpm
This shows that moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person will require that the heart rate remains between 109 and 129 bpm during physical activity.
For vigorous-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate should be between 77% and 93%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. To figure out this range, follow the same formula used above, except change 64 and 76% to 77 and 93%. For example, for a 35-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 35 years = 185 beats per minute . The 77% and 93% levels would be:
- 77% level: 185 x 0.77 = 142 bpm, and
- 93% level: 185 x 0.93 = 172 bpm