Did you know that with every beat of your heart, every minute of every day, your heart sends you an indication of how it’s doing? And that communication is your heart rate. Rates change as we age so it’s important to know what your ideal heart rate is while resting and for optimal exercise. You can easily go through life never knowing what it is, but, since knowing your rate may help you impact the quality of your life and the potential to fight disease, isn’t it worth it?
It’s a good indicator that we need exercise ∗. That we need to stay active. That we are made to move. And while your heart is the main reason to strive to take one more flight of stairs, do the treadmill for 5 more minutes or stick to your aerobic class when you don’t feel like going, your heart rate will let you know how you are doing with that goal.
Tracking your heart rate is easy and free. Recording it in a journal is also easy and free (besides the paper and pen). So you may ask, if that is the case, why isn’t everyone doing it?Well, because, as we mentioned earlier, it’s something that’s there every minute of every day that your heart beats. And it’s human nature to take things for granted that are seemingly abundant. Until we have problems. Then we pay attention.
But we have good news. Great news actually. And that is that tracking and recording your heart rate, even when you are sleeping, is possible with the help of a fitness tracker. All you have to do is purchase a tracker and if it has a watch feature, replace your watch with it. If there is no watch feature and it clips, clip it to your clothes as the manufacturer recommends. Also note that since you wear it while moving, it’s important to read the manufacturers instructions on how to use the tracker properly.
So, before we get into the trackers, let’s reiterate why knowing your heart rate is so important.
Measure Your Heart Rate!
Know your resting and active heart rate. Why should you measure your heart if you aren’t exercising? Great question! Did you know that even your resting heart rate is a good indicator of heart health?
We featured these interesting quotes in December that we believe are worth repeating. See if you agree.
When it comes to exercising and your heart rate or exertion, knowing your target heart rate can help you be more conscious of the effort you’re putting in, or the effort you still need to put in. If you track your heart rate during exercise and you know what zone you should be in you can adjust the intensity as necessary and save yourself time and effort while getting the most out of your workout.
∼ by Amy Froneman for health24
Resting heart rate is measured by beats per minute or BPM. For the super fit, RHR tends to be lower because a healthy heart is able to pump more blood with each beat with greater efficiency, thus requiring fewer beats per minute to pump blood throughout the body. Conversely, an elevated heart rate can be a sign of health issues.
∼ by Mackenzie Lobby Havey for the Under Armour Blog
Hit the Target: Find Your Heart Rate
See the Heart Rate Chart below to find the target heart rate for your age
Now that you have a target, you can monitor your heart rate to make sure you’re in the zone. As you exercise, periodically check your heart rate. A wearable activity tracker makes it super easy, but if you don’t use one you can also find it manually:
- Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
- Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) and press lightly over the artery.
- Count your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to find your beats per minute.
Important Note: Some drugs and medications affect heart rate, meaning you may have a lower maximum heart rate and target zone. If you have a heart condition or take medication, ask your healthcare provider what your heart rate should be.
∼ by www.heart.org
Heart Rate by Age ~ www.heart.org
Target HR Zone 50-85
|Average Maximum Heart
|20 years||100-170 beats per minute (bpm)||200 bpm|
|30 years||95-162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35 years||93-157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40 years||90-153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45 years||88-149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50 years||85-145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55 years||83-140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60 years||80-136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65 years||78-132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70 years||75-128 bpm||150 bpm|
CRFitness has a very good article on How to Take a Resting Heart Rate. This will teach you how to take your heart rate.
Homework for You
You may not have done this in years, but you have some homework to do. And this homework will benefit you immediately. For the next few weeks, track your heart rate manually (or with your fitness tracker) and keep a simple journal. If your tracker keeps this information, check it each day. Record what the rate when you first wake up and are still at rest and then again while active. If you are very active, record your peak rate as well as what you are doing at that time (running, biking, weights, etc.).
The bottom line: listen to your heart and hear what it is saying.
In the next few articles we’ll focus on how you can use your heart rate information to motivate yourself, so stay tuned! Thank you for spending part of your day with us.
Let us know if you have a good way to track your heart rate – we’d love to hear from you! Wishing you the best of health!
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We hope you found this information useful and want to thank you for spending time with us today. We wish you the best of health!
∗Note: it is important to discuss your plans with your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program, so they can be sure your goals are right for you. You should also ask your doctor any questions you may have about your heart rate.