What Are Heart Rate Zones
Know your heart rate zones.
In some cases, workouts will call for you to reach or maintain your heart rate in a particular “zone.” There are five heart rate zones, ranging from very light intensity to max intensity. The five heart rate zones are:
Its important to exercise in various heart rate zones to get the most benefits and improve your overall fitness. These heart rate zones can be useful when evaluating your workout intensity, but ranges may vary from person to person. You may notice that the numbers youre seeing dont correspond with the effort youre feeling. You may struggle to hit even the 70% lower end in a vigorous effort, or you may find the higher end feels too easy. This likely means that you will need to adjust your max heart rate up or down and recalculate your target zones accordingly. If its medically appropriate, the best way to reset your max heart rate is to warm up well then do a high-intensity effort for at least a few minutes and see what high numbers your monitor gives you.
Here Are A Few Ways You Can Monitor Your Heart Rate During Your Workouts
- The old fashioned way and the same way you tested your resting heart rate. Fingers on your wrist and count your heart rate for 60 seconds. Or do 30 seconds and then double it.
- The most accurate way to monitor your heart rate is by using trackers that attach to your chest just under breast bone and below your heart. It sends the results to your phone or smart watch and you can get real time accurate results
How Do Heart Rates Affect Workouts
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.
- 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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Why Do You Want To Increase Your Heart Rate During Exercise
Although you want your resting heart rate to be on the lower end of the scale, you need to be reaching a higher heart rate during exercise for the biggest and best health benefits. Getting your heart beating faster than its resting rate improves your cardiovascular health, helping your heart to move blood and oxygen to your muscles more efficiently. This process also burns calories, helping with metabolism and weight loss.
What Does Heart Rate Measure Anyway
Heart rate measures how fast your heart is beating.
In the simplest of definitions, heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats in a minute . It measures how intensely your heart is pumping and can therefore be used as a proxy for how hard youre working.
Measuring your heart rate during exercise is a key tool to help you understand how intense your workout is, says Tami Smith, an ACE-certified personal trainer. By measuring your heart rate, you’re able to gauge your exertion more accurately. For example, you might think that youre working hard and to your max capacity, but your heart rate youre still in a low zone and can push a little harder.
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How To Monitor Heart Rate During Exercise
There are two different ways of measuring and monitoring your heart rate during exercise.
Both options are very precise, so it simply comes down to which device you prefer for the way you exercise.
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Should You Track Your Heart Rate During Workouts
When this metric can be usefuland when just getting your pulse pounding is enough.
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With fitness trackers and smartwatches keeping track of your pulse throughout the day, you may have gathered that heart rate could be a valuable health metric to keep tabs on. But what does it mean to train by heart rate? Whats BPM? And how does this all affect your health?
For some people, heart rate is just another data point to skim over. It can also be used to make your workouts more effective. We talked to experts to find out what you should know about heart rate and how it may help you achieve your fitness goals faster.
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What Should Your Heart Rate Be During Exercise
- 06 May 2019
Our heart rate is getting a lot more attention these days thanks to the proliferation of fancy fitness trackers and smart watches. But how much do you really understand about the essential organ hammering away in your chest and what the info those products are telling you about it?
Like, what is a normal resting heart rate? And, what should your heart rate be during a workout? Plus, what are the benefits of tracking your heart rate?
Understanding how to train your heart in a workout is vital, so here we’re answering all your questions about heart health and exercise.
How Do I Get My Heart Rate In The Target Zone
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? Theres a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bullseye so you can get max benefit from every step, swing and squat. Even if youre not a gym rat or elite athlete, knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness level.
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Your Maximum Heart Rate
The rate at which your heart is beating when it is working its hardest to meet your body’s oxygen needs is your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate plays a major role in setting your aerobic capacitythe amount of oxygen you are able to consume. Several large observational studies have indicated that a high aerobic capacity is associated with a lower risk of heart attack and death. And a small controlled trial demonstrated that men and women with mild cognitive impairment who raised their aerobic capacity also improved their performance on tests of memory and reasoning.
What Is An Irregular Pulse
An irregular pulse is when the heart doesn’t beat in a regular, steady rhythm. This is also called an irregular heart rate or an arrhythmia.
If your heart rate is irregular, you may notice that your pulse:
- seems irregular or is ‘jumping around’
- is racing, even when you’re at rest
- seems unusually slow some or most of the time.
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What Should Heart Rate Be During Exercise
When monitoring heart rate while exercising, be careful not to push yourself too much. If youve reached your desired heart rate and maintained it for the desired amount of time intended, then you should rest to prevent injury.Some signs that indicate you may need to rest are shortness of breath, pain in the lungs, upper back or chest in the area of the heart. If any of this occurs, you may want to rest, reconsider your fitness level and make changes to your workout. It is best to have advice from your doctor on how to proceed if problems persist.Either way, your heart rate may at times be higher or lower than the maximum heart rate, sometimes by as much as 15 to 20 beats per minute. In this case, if youd like to have a more exact information related to your exercise regimen and heart rate, talk to your doctor or a qualified fitness professional.
Maximum Heart Rate And Age
Maximum heart rate is determined by factors within your heart’s electrical system that cause your heart to contract and relax for so many beats per minute. This maximum limit is genetically determined and decreases with age.
For example, if you are 35 years old, your estimated max heart rate should be 185 beats per minutes . At 50 years, your max heart rate is 170 bpm.
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Charts Of Normal Resting And Exercising Heart Rate
The heart is an organ located just behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone, and pumps blood through a network of veins and arteries known as the circulatory system. The right atrium is sent blood from the veins, and delivers it to the right ventricle. It’s then pumped into the lungs where it is oxygenated. The left atrium is sent oxygen enriched blood from the lungs and delivers it to the left ventricle, where it’s then pumped throughout the body, and the ventricular contractions create blood pressure.
A pulse is the beating of the heart as it’s felt through the walls of an artery, such as the radial artery at the wrist. Pulse rates can also be felt and measured at the carotid artery located on the side of the neck, the temporal artery at the temple, or the femoral artery on the anterior side of the hip, and a chart showing normal heart rate can be used to check on your heart rate.
Quick Answer: What Should Your Heart Rate Be While Exercising
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You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if youre 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the average maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise.
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Exercise And Heart Rate
Like any other muscle, your heart needs exercise to keep it fit and healthy. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health conditions, such as diabetes.
To keep your heart healthy, you should aim to do 150 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise a week. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor about what exercise and target heart rates are safe for you.
One way to measure the intensity of your exercise is by using your heart rate. To exercise at a low to moderate intensity your heart rate should be at 50 to 70% of your approximate maximum heart rate.
The easiest way to get an approximate maximum heart rate is to calculate 220 your age. You then need to calculate 50 to 70% of your MHR.
For example, if you’re 40-years-old:
- your approximate maximum heart rate is: 220 40 = 180 beats per minute
- 50% of your MHR is 180 X 0.5 = 90 bpm
- 70% of your MHF is 180 X 0.7 = 126 bpm.
Alternatively, you can use our heart rate chart below to get a rough idea.
Remember if you’re on medications to slow your heart rate down, you may not be able to meet these upper heart rates and the aim should be to exercise at a rate that makes you lightly puff.
Whats An Ideal Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate during exercise should be between 50% to 85% of your MHR, depending on what type of exercise you are doing and for what purpose.
For example, if you want to improve your endurance, you should do long training sessions at low intensity. If your aim is to improve your cardiovascular health, then high-intensity interval training is what you should try.
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How Other Factors Affect Heart Rate
- Air temperature: When temperatures soar, the heart pumps a little more blood, so your pulse rate may increase, but usually no more than five to 10 beats a minute.
- Body position: Resting, sitting or standing, your pulse is usually the same. Sometimes as you stand for the first 15 to 20 seconds, your pulse may go up a little bit, but after a couple of minutes it should settle down.
- Emotions: If youre stressed, anxious or extraordinarily happy or sad your emotions can raise your pulse.
- Body size: Body size usually doesnt change pulse. If youre very obese, you might see a higher resting pulse than normal, but usually not more than 100.
- Medication use: Meds that block your adrenaline tend to slow your pulse, while too much thyroid medication or too high of a dosage will raise it.
Target Exercise Heart Rate Guidelines
An average resting heart rate is between 60 to 100 beats a minute. Your target exercise heart rate is based on 60 – 85 percent of a maximum heart rate. For most people target exercise heart rate levels are:
- Light exercise between 60 – 70% of your maximum heart rate
- Moderate exercise between 71- 85% of your maximum heart rate.
If you are just starting an exercise routine, you may want to start out at 60 to 70 percent of your target heart rate. Then, as you become more fit, you can progress to 70 to 85 percent of your target heart rate. As your age increases, your target heart rate will decrease.
Certain aerobic or cardio workouts require that you exercise at high intensity for a set period of time with built in rest periods. This intensity can be dangerous if you are just beginning to work out or have heart or cardiovascular conditions. Thats why its important to monitor your heart rate. As a general rule of thumb:
- If you keep your workout heart rate in the lower range of the target heart rate guideline, you will be able to exercise longer.
- If you keep your exercise heart rate in the higher range of the guideline, you will have better cardiovascular and respiratory fitness.
For example: If you are 30 years old and just starting to work out, your exercise heart rate would be between 114 and 133 beats per minute, and 19 to 22 beats per 10 second count.
Use this chart to find your target exercise heart rate by age
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What Is An Average Resting Heart Rate By Age
When you are resting – whether sitting or lying down – you can check your resting heart rate. Provided that you have not smoked, consumed coffee, or exercised vigorously an hour before. Activities such as smoking, having coffee, loud noises, and vigorous physical activity make your heart beat faster for a while, and so you might not get your exact resting heart rate. And hence this may interfere with the correct heart rate.
Average resting heart rate by age:
Children : 70-100 beats per minute
Adults : 60-100 beats per minute
Whats A Normal Heart Rate By Age
One of the key factors that influence our heart rate is age. Like so many parts of our body, your hearts capacity and functionality changes over the course of your life. So your age is a useful metric for estimating your maximum heart rate .
By discovering your MHR, you can then work out your personal heart rate zones. These are useful for helping you to understand how different types of exercise have a specific effect on your heart and overall fitness.
You can use these zones to create a heart rate training plan, which is a great way of ensuring that you are doing a variety of exercises. By regularly exercising in different heart rate zones, you will get the most out of what you put in.
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How Can I Use My Heart Rate During My Workout
Heart rate can be a useful tool to use during workouts.
All aerobic activity does wonders for your cardiovascular health, and moderate- or vigorous-intensity exercise such as brisk walking, running, or rowing can maximize those benefits. Taking your pulse can help you figure out how intense your nightly jog, bike ride, or yoga class is, and can guide you to make adjustments to get to the intensity level you want.
Monitoring your heart rate can be especially useful during high-intensity interval training when youre alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity segments. I find the biggest benefits come with workouts where the goal is to raise your heart rate as much as possible within your working session and then allow it to come back down during your rest period, Smith says. A heart rate monitor will tell you exactly where you’re at exertion-wise and will help you understand what makes your heart rate increase and decrease.
Conversely, you can also check your pulse to make sure it doesnt spike too high or too often, which is valuable in situations where a doctor wants you to keep your heart rate below a certain threshold and/or to monitor a medical condition.