HEART RATE TARGETS FOR A CARDIO WORKOUT

HEART RATE TARGETS FOR A CARDIO WORKOUT

Government exercise guidelines are clear that all of us should do at least 75 minutes of intense cardio exercise, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, every week.

How do you know if your exercise counts as 'moderate' or 'intense'? Measuring your heart rate is a good way of finding out if you are meeting the target.

HOW CAN I MEASURE MY HEART RATE?

The easiest place to find your pulse is at your neck, not your wrist. If you are measuring someone else’s pulse use a finger, as if you use your thumb you will feel your own.

The low tech way is to count the beats while a minute passes on your watch. Most fitness trackers also offer a heart rate monitor function, which is much easier during a workout and need not be expensive.

WHEN SHOULD I MEASURE HEART RATE?

Measuring heart rate at rest indicates your overall fitness, while measuring during exercise shows how hard you are working.

Resting heart rate for adults usually falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Fitter people can have a lower resting rate, as the heart can also get stronger with exercise. Get to know what is normal for you.

WHAT HEART RATE TARGET SHOULD I SET FOR MY CARDIO WORK?

First, find your maximum healthy heart rate, which is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. Rough guidelines are that vigorous exercise should take your heart rate to between 70% and 85% of this maximum. Moderate exercise should take you to between 50% and 70% of the maximum.

WHAT OTHER FACTORS AFFECT HEART RATE?

Age makes a big difference, as anyone who has held a baby will know. That fast beat is perfectly normal for children, and slows as we grow. Apart from exercise, other factors affecting heart rate include stress, excitement, infection and even coffee.

Use the heart rate targets as a guideline - but with regular exercise you should start to see your heart getting fitter along with the rest of your body.

 


The Author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

Comments

Nicky B.
29 November 2018

Nicky B.

I am getting a fit bit for christmas so am interested in this. But I'm a little concerned that I will be checking all the time. Does anyone else find they do this?

Hugh M.
2 October 2018

Hugh M.

I have always had a low heart rate of around 55 too, and always thought it meant I was fit. But when I took it a couple of years ago it was about 70, and that was the incentive to get me exercising again!

Amber J.
29 September 2018

Amber J.

I don't really think we should mess about with measuring heart rates. It makes us too concerned over the slight differences and might discourage us. I would say just exercise and enjoy it and be done with it.

Lucy C.
28 September 2018

Lucy C.

I don't think I'm quite at the stage of really pushing it with workouts yet, but when I am it is useful to know what is a good target. I suspect it is going to take a lot of sweat to get to 85% maximum!

Jim R.
25 September 2018

Jim R.

Michael - it could well do although there are many other factors that come into play. But if you are the same age and gender as the someone, yes, quite possibly.

Michael W.
25 September 2018

Michael W.

My resting heart rate is 65 bpm - does t his mean I am fitter than someone with a pulse rate of 80?

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