Heart Rate – When it comes to fitness, the intensity of your workout depends on what your goals are. Exercising at the correct intensity can help you get the most out of your workout. One of the best and most reliable ways to figure out the intensity of your workout is your heart rate.
Your heart rate can tell you how effective your training is going when you might be pushing yourself too hard, or not doing enough. But how do you find out what your ideal heart rate is? How hard should you be working out?
1. Exercise Intensity
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is: How hard should I be working out? Most experts suggest a combination of aerobic activity and strength training at a moderate or vigorous level is ideal for the maximum benefit of exercise. That would look something like this:
- Aerobic activity: Generally you should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like jogging or swimming. Or you can do 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, such asrunning or aerobic dancing. It’s best to do this over the course of a week.
- Strength training: Additionally, you should strength train at least twice a week. Consider free weights, weight machines or activities that use your own body weight — such as rock climbing or exercises such as pushups and squats.
If your goal is weight loss, you should opt for a more intense or longer workout to burn more calories, but prioritize strength training over cardio. However, it’s important to maintain balance. Overdoing it can increase your risk of soreness, injury and burnout. Start at a light intensity if you’re new to exercising. Gradually build up to a moderate or vigorous intensity.
Also, make sure you are keeping track of your progress and prioritizing getting stronger, as this is an easy way to ensure continued progress
2. Your Ideal Heart Rate
The easiest way to calculate your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. So if you are 35 years old, subtract 35 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 185. Basically this number is he maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise.
In general, the higher your heart rate during physical activity, the higher the exercise intensity. Once you know your ideal heart rate, you will easily be able to tell whether your workout is at the right intensity.
3. How to Check Your Heart Rate
Use these steps to check your heart rate during your workout:
- Stop momentarily.
- Take your pulse for 15 seconds. To check your pulse over your carotid artery, place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.
- Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats per minute.
The Heart Rate Takeaway
In short, heart rate is one of the best ways to determine how effective your workout actually is. By calculating your heart rate, you can see whether your workout is too intense or not intense enough. So figure out your target heart rate and get exercising!
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Author: Chris Friesen
Chris Friesen is a gym owner, personal trainer, online fitness coach and former “fat dad” living on 60 beautiful acres of countryside in rural Canada.
He specializes in helping busy parents shed body fat quickly, WITHOUT becoming gym rats OR giving up the foods they love to eat.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids, sitting in his hot tub out in the snow with a glass of bourbon, and yelling at his (many) misbehaving barn cats.