Why Knowing Your Target Heart Rate Is Beneficial to a Successful Workout Program

What is a pulse or target hear rate?

Your heart rate is defined as your pulse. In one minute, your heart beats X number of times. Your target heart rate is important to know for a successful exercise program. Pulses can vary between certain people. When you’re resting, your pulse is much lower than when you’re active. Exercise requires oxygen-rich blood. If you know how to take your pulse, you’ll be able to better evaluate your exercising progress.

How do you determine your pulse?

Your pulse and how to check it:

1. With your index, second and third fingers, place your fingertips on the middle of your wrist, palm side, right below your hand. You can also place these same fingers on a side of your neck.

2. If you push down slowly with your fingers, you’ll feel your blood steadily pulsing.

3. Use a stopwatch, a clock with a second hand or the timer on you workout DVD.

4. If you count 6 seconds worth of pulses and multiply the number you get by ten, you’ll figure out your pulse (heart rate) for each minute.

The formula for this is:

Number of beats in a 6 second span x 10 = number of beats per minute.

Is your pulse normal?

Here is a list of normal pulse rates for those at rest:

For children under 15, the average rate is 70-100 pulses per minute.

For adults 18 and older, the average rate is 60-100 pulses per minute.

Maximum heart rate:

The highest pulse that you achieve during cardio exercise is the maximum rate for your heart. Use this formula to find your max heart rate:

220 – your age = estimated maximum pulse rate

For example, a 20 year old’s estimated maximum pulse is around 200 beats a minute.

Some medications and health conditions are enough to affect one’s heart beat. Heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure can all affect your heart beat. Asking a doctor about your heart is advisable. Knowing what your doctor has to say about your pulse during exercise is beneficial to your health and safety. In fact, in order to get the most accurate heart rate, you can take a supervised medically graded test.

Target Heart Rate

When you exercise, it is beneficial for you to work out in your target heart rate zone. This is when your heart beat is between 60 to 80% of your maximum rate. When exercising in your target heart zone, you will reap the benefits of a cardiovascular workout. As your body gets accustomed to your workout, it will take you longer or more intensity to get into “Your Zone”. It may even require you to change or alter your workout program so that your body is doing something different. I have people say to me that they are walking or riding a bike everyday but lose no weight. The answer could as simple as getting into your target heart rate zone. Your healthcare provider might find it necessary to decrease your maximum rate to 50% in the beginning depending on your health.

Exercising above a level of 85% is not recommended for anyone. That sort of intensity has no health benefits; if anything, it increases your risks for orthopedic and cardiovascular damage.

When starting an exercise program, check with your medical provider. Your provider can determine a program that works for your needs.

You may determine that gradually building up to your target heart range works best for you, especially for those who do not tend to exercise regularly. Slow down if your target heart rate gets too high.