You can improve the effectiveness of exercise by improving the heart rate you sustain throughout your workouts. Maintaining your target heart rate lets your heart and lungs perform at their optimal levels. A heart rate monitor can be used to track your heart rate during your workout. Over time you can increase your heart rate until you can maintain the maximum range of your target heart rate. A few simple calculations are necessary to estimate your maximum and target heart rates.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Heart rate monitor
Estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. This is the safest maximum heart rate for an individual. More recent research suggests that 205.8 - (0.685 x age) is a better estimate. An expensive cardiac stress test performed by medical staff using an EKG is the most accurate way to measure your maximum heart rate.
Estimate your target heart rate by calculating a range of 65 per cent to 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate. Multiply your maximum heart range by 0.65 and 0.85 to get a lower and upper range. This range represents the intensity of your workout. Sustaining this heart rate throughout your workout enables your heart and lungs to receive their maximum benefits.
Exercise while using a heart rate monitor. Begin by trying to sustain the lower range of your target heart rate. Use a lower target if you become exhausted quickly.
Increase your target heart rate slowly over a period of weeks. Continue until you can maintain the top range of your target heart range. At this point your heart and lungs will be near their optimal levels.
Tips and warnings
- Consult your physician before starting an exercise program. A high heart rate can be dangerous for those with poor heart health.
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