Are you not pushing yourself enough, or pushing yourself too hard when you exercise? If you are looking to get more involved in a cardio exercise routine, knowing your maximum heart rate is a key tool in deciding how vigorous your exercises should be. It will also help you to track how effective your workouts are!
Moderate exercises are a great way to improve your fitness level and heart health, especially if you have underlying conditions that make fitness a challenging task for you. If you are engaging in moderate cardio, your breathing should be faster paced than normal, but not uncomfortable. You should not be sweating intensely during exercises like these. For example, this type of exercise can be compared to a briskly paced walk. Other examples of moderate paced exercises include: water aerobics, slow biking, and leisurely swimming.
A vigorous exercise is a lot more intense than a moderate one. You will notice that during these exercises, you are more out of breath, talking in full sentences will be more difficult, and you will most likely be sweating more. Vigorous exercises can be as simple as speeding up a normal paced walk into a brisk walk, faster paced jogging, or even hopping on a low impact elliptical machine.
Let’s look at what your target heart rate should be for both of these categories:
Maximum Heart rate = 220 – ( your age )
For example, if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 220 – 50 = 170. Now that you know your maximum heart rate, you can calculate what your target heart rate will be for the exercise you are planning to do. According to the American Heart Association your target heart rate during exercise should be in the range of 50 – 85% of your maximum heart rate. For example, if your maximum heart rate is 170, your target heart rate should range from 85 beats per minute to 145 beats per minute during periods of exercise.
If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, consider beginning with moderate exercises and aiming to keep your target heart rate on the lower end of the range. With time your heart will strengthen and be able to reach higher levels as you work out!
Please keep in mind that all exercise should be discussed with and approved by your doctor. It is important to stay in your target heart range to keep you from overexerting yourself. Overexertion can lead to injury as well as dehydration. Keeping an eye on your target heart rate will be a good judge of this. On the other hand, if your target heart rate is way below what it should be during exercise, you will know to kick it up a notch to get the most effects from your workout!