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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.

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