Exercise Intensity: What Happens When We Go All Out
Muscle cells require two key ingredients to function: fuel and oxygen.
Muscles rely heavily on blood vessels to deliver the necessary nutrients and oxygen around the body, and also to remove by-products such as carbon dioxide.
The more muscles used in exercise, the more blood is distributed towards the active tissues.
When the intensity of the exercise is particularly high, the muscles start to produce another by-product called lactate.
Cells can also use lactate as a fuel although if production rate exceeds metabolism, lactate starts to accumulate and can interfere with cellular function.
The point at which this by-product starts to accumulate is termed the lactate threshold.
Any exercise intensity that can be comfortably sustained is usually below this threshold, and will have an accompanying heart rate. As it is much easier to measure heart rate than lactate production, heart rate can be used as a surrogate measure of exercise intensity.
Taking Your Heart Rate
Generally, to determine whether you are exercising within the heart rate target zone, you must stop exercising briefly to take your pulse. You can take the pulse at the neck, the wrist, or the chest. We recommend the wrist. You can feel the radial pulse on the artery of the wrist in line with the thumb. Place the tips of the index and middle fingers over the artery and press lightly. Do not use the thumb. Take a full 60-second count of the heartbeats, or take for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. Start the count on a beat, which is counted as zero. If this number falls between 85 and 119 bpm in the case of the 50-year-old person, he or she is active within the target range for moderate-intensity activity.
- Lifetime Fitness and Wellness. Provided by: Extended Learning Institute of Northern Virginia Community College. Located at: . License: CC BY: Attribution
- Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate. Provided by: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Located at: . License: Public Domain: No Known Copyright
Heart Rate Reserve Example
How to calculate heart rate reserve?
Using the calculator linked above, determine your maximum heart rate based on your age and gender.
Subtract your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate to determine your HRR.
Is Exercising At Maximal Heart Rates Unsafe
In short, the answer is no. For most adults, the risk of not doing enough exercise is far greater than that of doing excessive endurance exercise.
The health benefits of regular exercise are well established, although emerging evidence suggests excessive exercise may not provide extra cardiovascular health benefits.
Likewise, theres a higher chance a sedentary person will experience an acute cardiac event, like a heart attack, during exercise when theyre unaccustomed to high-intensity exercise, or they have a pre-existing heart condition. The maximal risk is 0.3 to 2.7 events per 10,000 person-hours.
With a third of Australians not meeting the WHO recommended guidelines of accumulating 150 minutes of exercise per week, encouraging regular physical activity continues to be a pervasive public health message.
In terms of assessing risk, an exercise pre-screening assessment with an ESSA-qualified exercise specialist will be able to assess and mitigate the risk of exercise participation.
Beginner Tips For Heart Rate Zone Training
Working out can seem overwhelming, especially when you are short on time and energy after work. Using the latest tech and the adidas Runtastic apps makes staying on top of your workouts easy, so all you have to do is show up and let the app guide your training.
Here are five beginner tips to keep in mind when starting heart rate zone based workouts:
Note:The above-mentioned tips and calculations apply to healthy individuals. If you have any heart problems, are on any medication, or have been advised by your doctor to stay within a certain bpm range, make sure you follow their instructions. And, as always, check with your doctor before starting any new fitness regimen.
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Calculate Maximum Heart Rate With A Field Test
Its not a coincidence that this comes as number 3. Field tests should only be attempted by athletes with a solid aerobic foundation who know what they are doing. Inexperienced athletes are better off estimating their Max HR and structuring the training process first, before pushing the body to the limit.
Some beginner athletes may not even be able to exercise 20 minutes non-stop, let alone go full gas for that amount of time. This can cause a variety of injuries .
In fact, beginners may not even get the full benefit from the test. The test will require a lot of mental strength , because such level of suffering is hard to maintain.
Beginners will quit or slow down long before they reach their true maximum capacity.
For everyone else tests below are listed in an order of increasing complexity from easiest to more complex.
For optimal results, each of these tests requires total freshness. Avoid scheduling any intense sessions at least 2 days before the test and get enough sleep beforehand.
Also, do a thorough warm up for these sessions, as youre going to go really hard. Most optimal would be to include both:
- 10 minutes of full-body exercises, taking all joints through a full range of motion and
- a 10-15 minute jog with 4×20-second gradual speed pick-ups. Aim to reach & maintain maximum speed for the last 5 seconds.
Obviously, adjust the warmup according to your sport
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.
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Based On Age And Gender
What is the maximum heart rate of a man or a woman of a specific age?target heart rate ranges
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Why Calculate Max Heart Rate
Calculating max heart rate is necessary for heart rate training and understanding what your heart rate zones are. Once you know what your max HR is, you can then monitor your heart rate while exercising and track what percentage of your max you hit during certain workouts and activities.
Different percentages of your max HR represent various heart rate training zones, which are useful to target depending on what your goals are. For example, as you can see in the chart below, exercising at 70-80% of your max heart rate is good for improving your overall level of aerobic fitness.
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Know Your Numbers: Maximum And Target Heart Rate By Age
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 its about 70-85% of maximum.
The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.
Max Hr Test #: The 20
First one is your regular 5K test. For a fit individual 20 minutes should be enough to complete 5 kilometers. If you can run 5K. If not just run 20 minutes.
Since its a maximum capacity test, the aim is to go hard. Generally, within the first 3 minutes the heart rate will increase beyond 90% of maximum and to beyond 95% within 10 minutes.
Pick up the pace for the last kilometer where you feel you cant possibly maintain it until the finish and then go all-out for the last 200m. The heart rate at the finish is most definitely your maximum heart rate.
This will require some time to recover from, so better reserve this effort for an actual race.
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How To Predict Your Maximum Heart Rate
Medically reviewed byJennifer Boidy, RN
Last Updated: March 29, 2019References
This article was medically reviewed by Jennifer Boidy, RN. Jennifer Boidy is a Registered Nurse in Maryland. She received her Associate of Science in Nursing from Carroll Community College in 2012. This article has been viewed 1,592 times.
If you’re exercising with a specific goal in mind maybe you want to lose weight or build strength creating heart-rate target zones can help you maximize your workout time. To create a target zone, though, you must first know your maximum heart rate, which is the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity. While a laboratory test will provide a more exact number, you can predict your maximum heart rate using one of two formulas.XResearch source
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.
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Why Should You Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate
Heart rate-based training enables you to run at the right intensity in order to reach your training goals. In other words, training smart is better than always training hard.
Training intensity is divided into five heart rate zones from very light to maximum intensity. The heart rate zones are calculated as percentages of your maximum heart rate.
To determine your personal heart rate zones, you first need to know or estimate your maximum heart rate.
For example, within heart rate zone 4, youll be training at 8190% of your HR max and increasing your maximum performance capacity.
Alternatively, at heart rate zone 3 , youll be training at the slightly reduced level of 71-80% of your HR but you will still be improving the efficiency of blood circulation.
To determine your personal heart rate zones, you first need to know or estimate your maximum heart rate.
Testing Max Hr For Cycling
Max heart rate testing should always be carried out on a stationary trainer and not on the road.
After a good warm-up again checking your heart rate monitor is reading correctly, start riding at 100W.
Expect your max-HR tests to be seriously tough efforts!
Then, increase by 20W every minute until exhaustion to get an accurate figure. Apps like Zwift have such tests built in, allowing you to use a smart trainers ERG mode for easier ramping.
If you dont have a smart trainer or a power meter, you can use the resistance remote on your trainer or just your bikes gears to gradually up the effort. Just make sure that the resistance in your hardest gear is enough that you wont spin out before reaching your max.
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How To Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate
Originally published July 6, 2016 3:40 pm, updated October 12, 2020
Here are some of the most popular methods to calculate your maximum heart rate, arranged from the simplest to the most accurate.
Defining maximum heart rate is easy: its the highest number of beats per minute your heart can pump under maximum stress.
Determining your maximum heart rate, however, is a little bit harder but dont despair.
First, though, a little background.
How To Test For Your Cycling Max Heart Rate
The 220 minus age formula that was developed in the Second World War to work out your max heart rate is rather dated but still used extensively around the world. A new formula 214- for men, and 209- for women has been developed to help improve its accuracy.
The traditional strategy is to use the formula of 220 minus age to guestimate your max. This is often used in health clubs. Here, charts show age-related MHR and training heart rates for cardiovascular fitness development. For example, if you are 40, your estimated MHR would be 180 . You can then calculate training heart rates from this, using a formula such as 70 per cent MHR . Its quite simple, but unfortunately, its not accurate for everyone. American sports scientists have modified the basic formula to allow for gender: 214- for men, and 209- for women. REF:
Both the 220 minus age and 214- for men, and 209- for women formulas will provide you with a good starting point however, most people that I train have a higher max heart rate than these normalised formulas.
For a more accurate indication of your max heart rate, there are several simple cycling max heart rate tests that you can perform yourself or with the aid of someone else.
The following methods are sourced from http://www.timetrialtraining.co.uk/S6MaxHeartRateTests.htm and provide two good examples of max heart rate tests.
Max Heart Rate Test 1.
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Maximum Heart Rate And Exercise
During 4×4 interval training, you use your maximum heart rate to give the heart good exercise. Our HRmax Calculator calculates at which heart rate you should exercise when performing this kind of interval training. The 4×4 principle can be used in a variety of activites, including running, biking, swimming and rowing.
Watch our video for further explanation on how to perform effective 4×4 interval training:
How To Measure Your Own Pulse
There are different methods for determining individual values. The first of these is measuring by hand, by placing with the index, middle and ring finger on the throat, and counting the beats for 15 seconds. Then multiply this value by four and you have your heart rate. This method is useful for determining your resting heart rate. This should ideally be measured in the morning after waking up, since at this time we are not yet really active. You can also wear a sports watch with a heart rate strap and determine your heart rate in real time.
This method of pulse measurement can also be used for determining the maximum heart rate. As a rule you should do maximum capacity training under medical supervision, for what is known as a performance diagnostic, which means that you are subjected to increasingly high stresses on a treadmill undergoes, until you finally reach a performance dropout. The pulse at this point is defined as the maximum heart rate.
Since not everyone wants to run in order to get a performance diagnostic, which is also too expensive for most, there are different calculation models to help you try to determine your maximum pulse using approximations.
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