Question: How can I get the most out of my cardio workouts?
Answer: Great question! I like to tell my clients to pay attention to their heart rate while doing cardiovascular activity. Wearable technology is becoming more accessible and easier to use than ever and there are many different types that have a heart rate monitoring feature. You may have heard terms such as “target heart rate”, “resting heart rate”, “maximum heart rate” …but what do they all mean? I’m here to break it down for you!
Maximum Heart Rate: This number is the highest beats per minute that your heart can handle during exercise. Usually this number is determined by your age, but several factors come into play including overall health & genetics. The best way to get a baseline max heart rate number is to use this equation: 220 – your age. For example, if my age is 26 my max heart rate (estimate) would be 194.
Resting Heart Rate: This number is a great way to determine your overall cardiovascular health. Resting heart rate tells us how hard our body is working at rest. The better your cardiovascular health, the lower this number will be. A healthy range is between 60-80 beats per minute. The more you perform activities that elevate your heart rate the stronger your heart will be and the less it needs to work during normal activities.
Target Heart Rate: Ahhh, the number we’re really here to talk about! Target heart rate is the range recommended while working out. This range is typically 60-80% of your max heart rate. In the example above, if my max is 194 beats per minute, I would want my heart rate to fall between 116-155 beats per minute. If you are exercising with the intention of improving cardio and your heart rate falls below this range, you will want to pick up the intensity so you can be sure you are getting the most out of your workout!
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