So I think it’s safe to say that the first official week of January is over. And hopefully by this time you’ve had a chance to get a few quality workouts in.
One aspect of fitness (and an important one) that I want to share with you today is your Heart Rate and some of the values you need to track in order to see cardiovascular results.
Your heart rate (HR) is one of the simplest and most informative of all the cardiovascular tests. Measuring your heart rate involves taking your pulse, either at the radial or carotid artery sites. HR reflects the amount of work your heart must do to meet the increased demands of the body when your involved with physical activity/exercise.
Resting Heart Rate
Your resting HR is exactly that – the number of times your heart beats at rest. Your resting HR should average between 60 to 80 beats / min. If your HR is 100 bpm or over at rest then I highly suggest you see your doctor as it can mean you have serious heart issues.
Heart Rate During Exercise
As you begin your exercise session, your HR increases as the exercise intensity increases. As you get to a point of exhaustion your HR begins to level off which indicates that you’re getting closer to your maximum heart rate (HRmax), which is the highest HR value you can achieve in an all-out effort to the point of exhaustion. Your HRmax is a value that remains constant from day to day and changes only slightly from year to year.
You can estimate your HRmax based on your age. Because HRmax decreases about one beat per year beginning at 10 to 15 years of age it’s important to check your HRmax annualy. To find your HRmax simply subtract your age from 220.
Eg. 220- 23 (age) = 197 bpm
Remember this is an approximation of your average.
In individuals who are under the age of 20 and over the age of 50 this equation is a bit more accurate.
HRmax = 208- (0.7 X age in years)
HRmax = 208 – (0.7 X 57)
HRmax = 208 – (39.9)
HRmax = 168.1
Steady State Heart Rate
When you work at a level that is constantly increasing your HR increases fairly fast until it reaches a plateau. This plateau is called your steady-state heart rate, and it’s the optimal heart rate for meeting the circulatory demands for that specific rate of work. Each time you increase your intensity, your HR will reach a new steady-state value within 1 to 2 minutes. But, the more intense your exercise is, the longer it takes to reach your steady-state value.
Understanding how your heart rate works is very important for tracking your cardiovascular fitness. Heart rate monitors help make this task a whole lot easier and being able to visually see your fitness improving can be very motivational and that’s something you can take to “heart”.