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What should my maximum heart rate be whilst exercising?

January 30, 2017

We’ve all got them, Apple watches, Fitbits, Jawbones and Garmin. We track our food, log our exercise and watch our heart rate go up and down, but what does it all mean?

 

Our Body Rockers Boot camp & FIT MUM exercise classes at College Park, get the heart pumping, the muscles aching and the brains ticking. We push ourselves hard, we lose weight and build muscle but just how hard should we be pushing ourselves to see results?

 

First things first... what is my normal resting heart rate (RHR)?

You need to check your resting heart rate (RHR), this is the number of times your heart beats per minute while you’re at rest. The best time to check your RHR is in the morning before you get out of bed.

  • Adults ranges between 60 and 100 beats a minute (BPM)

  • Athletes 40 - 60 BPM

 

Now to calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR)

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.  For example, if you were 36 years old, you should subtract 36 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 184.

 

184 is the maximum number of times the heart should beat per minute during exercise.

Please note: your actual MHR can vary by as much as 15-20 BPM


 

What should my target heart rate be for moderate intensity?

Your MHR for moderate intensity at 50 to 70% is calculated as follows;

Example of a 36 year old.

  1. Subtract your age from 220 (subtract 36 from 220)

  2. 50%: 184 x 0.50 = 92 BPM

  3. 70%: 184 x 0.70 = 128 BPM

Based on the above calculations, for moderate intensity exercise the heart rate should range between 92 and 128 BPM.

 

 

What should my target heart rate be for vigorous-intensity?

You’re MHR for vigorous-intensity at 70 to 85% is calculated as follows;

Example of a 36 year old.

  1. Subtract your age from 220 (subtract 36 from 220)

  2. 70%: 184 x 0.70 = 128 BPM

  3. 85%: 184 x 0.85 = 156 BPM

Based on the above calculations, for vigorous exercise the heart rate should range between 128 and 156 BPM.

 

Factors that can influence heart rate

  • Avoid being dehydrated

  • Hot weather and humidity

  • Caffeine through coffee and sports drinks

  • Stress or anxiety

  • Smoking

  • Medications

     

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