Heart rate: Is there a healthy limit and how high is too high?

Heart rate: Is there a healthy limit and how high is too high?

During exercise your heart rate increases, varying on fitness levels and what your normal or “resting” heart rate is.

There is a healthy range for the heart rate to be in, and anything beyond that could suggest a heart condition. Checking your heart rate, both resting, and after exercise can be a great way to monitor your overall health.

Generally, the best time to measure your heart rate is just after you get out of bed in the morning. Most people will record a rate of something between 60 and 100 beats a minute.

As you get fitter, that rate will lower.

There is a formula, known as the Karvonen formula, which works out maximum heart rates. This is the rate where you push your body beyond fat burning and start using up your glucose.

The formula is simply that you take your age away from 220, and this gives you your maximum heart rate. If you are unfit, you will reach this number faster than someone fitter.

The higher your heart rate is, the less efficient your heart becomes. So a well-planned exercise schedule will mean you don’t push yourself beyond your maximum heart rate, but gradually bring it down with regular exercising.

Some professional athletes boast a resting heart rate of around 40 beats per minute, but don’t fret, it’s very unlikely that you would get to that level without daily amounts of serious training.

Aim to gradual up your exercise levels to lower both your resting, and your maximum heart rate. You’ll start to feel really good when your heart rate is elevated during exercise, and it will provide long term health benefits.


The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.


Tom D.
20 October 2016

Tom D.

For a long time I felt like my heart rate wasn't reaching high enough levels in workouts but then I realised how low my resting rate was (a little like Matthew) so I realised I was worrying over nothing.

Phillip H.
19 October 2016

Phillip H.

my partner has a similar low resting heart rate, enough to worry one or two people when he was younger - but it is just how he is. I think it is 'what is normal for me?' that matters,

Mike D.
17 October 2016

Mike D.

Hi Matthew, low heart rates a generally healthy, but anything much lower than that e.g. into the 40s might be worth checking out with a doctor.

Matthew C.
16 October 2016

Matthew C.

My heart rate is usually around 54 beats a minute. Is this good? I feel rather proud :)

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