Tuesday, May 28, 2024

What Is Your Max Heart Rate

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Do You Have a Maximum Heart Rate?

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.

Why Is This A Problem

We know that every person is different. While a maximum heart rate estimate based on your age can give you a good starting point its rarely entirely accurate. If your maximum heart rate is too high or too low this can cause a cascade of issues that can have big overall effects.

Do you find yourself struggling to get your heart rate in the zone you want? Working hard, but not seeing the results you want in your post-workout analysis? When your heart rate is set too high you will find that its much harder to get into the higher heart rate zones.

This is an example of a maximum heart rate setting that is too high, the graph clips off the highest heart rates registered in the workout.

Does your heart rate graph has peaks that arent even showing up on the graph? If your max heart rate is set too high you can find that your graph wont be able to show all of your data. This can also trick you into thinking your workouts are more intense than they actually are. If youre training for a specific heart rate this can be a big problem. Whether youre trying to keep your heart rate low while training for a marathon or trying to push yourself to your limits this can really throw your calculations out of proportions.

In this situation the maximum heart rate is likely set too low.

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The Maximum Heart Rate In Your Fitness App Is Just An Estimate

If you are already going to the effort of tracking your workouts its important to get accurate data. While general data can show you important trends and give you a rough estimate of your effort and improvements over time, you can get much more accurate data by making sure that you have a few simple settings correct. One of the most important metrics that you need to get right is your maximum heart rate. Accuracy is key in heart rate training.

Maximum heart rate is the highest possible heart rate that your body is able to get to. This represents your maximum intensity. This is the value that represents pushing yourself to your absolute physical limits. When you first download your fitness app youre only seeing an estimate based on your age.

How Do Heart Rates Affect Workouts

Understanding Your Target Heart Rate

Heart rate zones let you know how hard your heart is working and what energy source youre using carbohydrates or fat. The higher your heart rate gets, the more youre relying on glycogen from carbohydrates for fuel.

For endurance athletes, its best to exercise in the zones that mostly rely on fat for fuel, says Travers. Fat is a longer-lasting energy source and better for longer, intense workouts.

Best heart rate zone for fat loss

Youll burn fat at every exercise heart rate zone. If youre just starting to exercise, aim for the lower-intensity heart rate zone. As you build stamina, push yourself into the next zone until youre comfortably at the aerobic level. Thats your heart getting stronger.

Cardio exercise is designed primarily to improve heart and metabolic health, says Travers. It helps lower your:

  • Blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol.
  • Blood sugar.

For fat loss, he recommends strength training to build muscle. Having more muscle mass boosts your metabolic rate , helping you burn more calories throughout the day.

If you havent been active before, then cardiovascular exercise will help with weight loss in the beginning. But at some point, youll become aerobically fit, Travers notes. Then you wont use as much energy to complete the same amount of exercise, so youll stop seeing significant weight loss.

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How To Check Your Heart Rate

You can check your heart rate by counting the pulse. A pulse can be felt at various sites on the body like over the sides of the neck, the wrist, and the top of the foot. To check your pulse on the wrist with the help of your middle finger and index finger, you need to:

  • Keep your middle finger and your index finger over the inner part of the wrist and keep pressing gently until you can feel your pulse. The pulse is felt in your radial artery.
  • After you have located your pulse, look at the watch, and start counting the beats for 30 seconds. Doubling this count will give you your heart rate. You can even count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply the number by six to get your heart rate.

If you find the rhythm of your heartbeat slightly irregular, you will have to count the beats completely until 60 seconds. You will have to visit your doctor if you keep getting a fast and irregular heart rate consistently.

What Is A Normal Heart Rate

A normal resting heart rate is usually between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Your number may vary. Children tend to have higher resting heart rates than adults.

The best time to measure your resting heart rate is just after you wake up in the morning, before you start moving around or have any caffeine.

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Why Is Max Heart Rate Important

If you have a reasonable estimate of your Max Heart Rate, then you can create target training zones to help you improve your cardiovascular capacity and progress the intensity of your workouts. For example, if your max heart rate is 190 bpm, then I can give you a training plan that instructs you to run at 70% of your max heart rate for 30 minutes, or 133 bpm. So your target heart rate in this case is 133 bpm, which is a very useful benchmark for future workouts.

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How to find out your Maximum Heart Rate for Running! (and why its important)

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When Should You Worry About Your Heart Rate

Some people never notice the rate or rhythm of their heart, while others notice every minor irregularity . In the absence of symptoms , that’s not an indication of trouble. An abnormal rate or rhythm may be discovered during a physical exam, ECG, or other testing, even in healthy people who have no symptoms.

Common symptoms of a slow heart rate include:

  • fatigue
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or near-fainting
  • confusion

How To Measure Max Heart Rate

In order to measure your max resting heart rate, begin your normal exercise routine. After moderate exercise, take your pulse on the inside of your wrist with the tips of your first two fingers. Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 in order to get an accurate estimate of your BPM.

From the American Heart Association, this table shows the estimated target heart rates and maximum heart rate by age. Everybody is different. These figures are merely meant to be averages, so use them as general guidelines.

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How To Lower Your Heart Rate

Staying physically active by doing moderate to vigorous exercise regularly is one of the best ways to achieve a lower heart rate that leads to a healthy and long life.

Changes in your lifestyle that may lower your heart rate include:

  • Reducing the intake of coffee and caffeine-containing products
  • Avoiding binge drinking
  • Intake of a healthy diet to keep weight under check
  • Doing deep breathing to manage stress and anxiety

If your heart rate becomes too high suddenly, and you feel shortness of breath or chest pain, you need to consult your doctor immediately to get medications prescribed for you. This could be a sign of an impending heart attack or other life-threatening heart problems.

How To Monitor Heart Rate

Your Pulse And Your Target Heart Rate

Once a person has calculated their target heart rate zones, they can find out whether or not they are meeting these ranges by measuring their heart rate while running.

The most basic method for testing heart rate is to count pulse rate by hand. To do this, a person can place two fingers lightly on the opposite wrist until they can feel the pulse.

Count the number of pulse beats that occur in 30 seconds and multiply this by two to find out the number of beats in 60 seconds.

An easier way to measure heart rate during exercise is to wear a wristwatch or chest monitor that picks up on heartbeat. There are many products to choose from, such as heart rate watches and heart rate straps, online.

Otherwise, it may be a good idea to book some time with a treadmill or a personal trainer to get accurate heart rate readings and set goals.

Although an increased heart rate is one aim of exercise, pushing the heart too far can be harmful.

Signs that a person is pushing their heart too far include chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and a relative inability to talk while running.

If a person notices any of these signs, they should slow down and concentrate on breathing steadily. If a person always experiences chest pain with exercise, they should seek a professional medical opinion immediately.

It is important to note that these target heart rates are for average individuals who are otherwise healthy.

Also Check: What Causes Low Blood Pressure And High Heart Rate

How Do I Calculate My Maximum Heart Rate

That is why it is easier to say that a safe upper limit is 60% to 90% of your maximum heart rate rather than us trying to provide you with a specific number. If you want a general idea of what your maximum exercise heart rate should be, then you take 220 and subtract your age.

That is the maximum rate your heart should beat while exercising. If you are exceeding that amount, then you are working too hard and need to back off until your rate is 60% to 90% of that level.

When it comes to exercising, you want your heart rate to go up. The goal is not to keep your heart rate down, something that many people dont understand. You want your resting heart rate to be low, not your exercising heart rate.

You really want your heart rate to be elevated and if you arent achieving an increase of at least 50% of your maximum heart rate, then you arent benefiting like you should from your exercises.

As you get into better shape, you want to try to achieve 90% of your maximum heart rate to get the most benefit from your exercises.

Max Hr Test #: The 42 Test

This test is more interactive and is based on VO2 max-type of training. The idea is that you dont let the body fully recover by having a rest interval shorter than the speed interval.

Traditional VO2 max training is targeted to build power and speed endurance, as well as teach the body to tolerate the build-up of lactate in the body.

The difference in this test is that we focus on reaching the maximum heart rate. Therefore, every interval should be performed at maximum speed and not the lactate threshold speed.

The protocol is: do 4 repeats of 2 minutes at maximum effort with 1 minute rest interval. I bet after second youll already see your heart rate redlining and after third youll be quite close to the absolute maximum.

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What Is Considered A Dangerously High Heart Rate

When your heart rate is too fast, its called tachycardia. For adults, a fast heart rate is generally defined as a heart rate of over 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia can be dangerous depending on the underlying conditions and causes. Possible causes include anemia, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, or congenital heart disease, among others.

Visit the Valleywise Health blog to learn more about heart health and talk with Valleywise practitioners at your local Community Health Center to learn more about ways to stay healthy. Visit the rest of the Valleywise Health blog to get more information about cardiology and other services.

What If My Resting Heart Rate Is High Does The Same Formula Still Apply

What is Your MAX Heart Rate for 10 minutes at 9K Feet?

Even if your resting heart rate is higher, say 90 beats per minute, the same formula still applies to you. What this means, however, is that you have less room to move in terms of reaching your maximum safe heart rate.

Studies show that a resting heart rate of over 84 may be dangerous and having a medical exam is important to ensure that you dont have any underlying issues causing the accelerated rate.

If you have had a higher heart rate your entire life, then it is likely that you simply have a high heart rate, but it is always best to err on the side of caution and get a medical opinion.

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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.

Important To Get The Maximum Heart Rate Right

Maximum heart rate is an important tool to uncover cardiovascular disease. During stress testing, age-expected maximum heart rate is used as a guideline for when the test should be concluded. If the test is finished before the load is high enough, you risk not to detect subclinical heart disease. Therefore, it is of great clinical relevance to have a way to accurately estimate HRmax.

The traditional formula for determining HRmax is “220 minus age”, but can underestimate HRmax by up to 40 beats per minute in seniors. In fact, the method is inaccurate already at an age of 3040 years, and gets more inaccurate the older you are.

In The HUNT Fitness Study, we measured accurate maximum heart rate in 3,320 healthy adults aged between 19 and 89. Based on these tests we made a completely new formula which estimates maximum heart rate far more accurately than “220 minus age”. The HRmax Calculator is based on this formula: “211 – 0.64*age”.

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The Optimal Training Pulse

Theory is all well and good but how do we now find the actual ideal heart rate for training? For this you can use the so-called Karvonen Formula. The criterium here is the heart rate reserve, that is the difference between the resting and maximum heart rates . The formula is:

Training heart rate = × factor + resting heart rate

There are of course different types of endurance training e.g. basic endurance training or aerobic endurance training so here we need to introduce a factor which changes the result. According to Karvonen the factors are as follows:

  • For intense endurance training: 0.8
  • For extensive endurance training at a more relaxed pace: 0.6
  • And for the untrained: 0.5

So if we have a theoretical resting heart rate of 70, a maximum heart rate of 190 and are fairly untrained, we should begin to train with a pulse of around 130 beats per minute. In modern training science the so-called exercise zones have proven helpful. These give a percentage of the maximum heart rate. Depending on the source, these zones are also called training zones. These range from RECOM through BE1, BE2 and BE3 up to CSE .

Heart rate zones

CSE Approaching the maximum heart rate. May be harmful to the heart in recreational athletes!

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