monitoring heart rate while exercising

Target Heart Rate While Working Out

Understanding Your Heart Rate

When you first start exercising regularly, you’ll hear terms like heart rate zones and resting heart rate thrown about. These may be a bit of a mystery to you, particularly if you’ve never given your heart rate much thought. Don’t worry! We’re here to clear away the mystery and help you become an expert on all things heart rate.

What is a target heart rate?

Essentially, the target heart rate is a guideline to help you improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. Knowing your target heart rate helps you stay in a safe heart rate range while you’re exercising. There are a few different ways to determine your target heart rate, but the simplest is probably to determine your maximum heart rate first by subtracting your age from 220. Once you know your maximum heart rate, you’ll be able to determine your target heart rate zones, which are about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum during moderate activity and 70 to 85 percent during vigorous activity. For instance, if you are 35 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 185 beats per minute (bpm). If you are exercising at low intensity, you’d find your target heart rate by multiplying 185 by .5 or .6, to determine that your target range is about 92 to 111 bpm. For a high intensity workout, you’d use the same formula to find a target rate zone of about 129 to 157 bpm. The older you are, the lower your target heart rate will be.

Finding Your Heart Rate

You can find your heart rate by checking your pulse, but it’s easier if you have a fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor. Some exercise machines will also track your heart rate for you while you’re working out. Determine your resting heart rate first, to understand your baseline. Your resting heart rate is the number of beats per minute right after a good night’s sleep, before you’ve had coffee or gotten out of bed. For most people, the normal heart rate when at rest is between 60 and 100 bpm. The lower your heart rate, the better, and some athletic people have heart rates as low as 40 bpm. Expect your heart rate to fluctuate- heart rate variability is normal.

When Your Heart Rate is Not in the Zone

What if your heart rate is too high or too low when you’re working out? This is often an easy fix. If your heart rate is too low, push yourself a little bit harder to get into the zone. If you have a high heart rate, slow it down, to bring it under control. If you’re new to exercising, try to aim for the lower range of your target heart rate zone, gradually working your way up to more intensity. What is a dangerous heart rate? Going over your maximum heart rate is unsafe, and if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100, you should probably talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help determine if anything is wrong, and help you create a plan to safely reach your fitness goals.

Reach Your Fitness Goals at Wellbridge

At the Wellbridge Family of Athletic Clubs, we’re all about helping you reach your goals and live your best life. That is why we offer world-class training that keeps up to date with the latest in health and wellness. At our clubs, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team before you’re challenged and motivated by top-notch instructors in our fitness classes. You’ll make new friends because you belong here. Join today or contact us to learn more.