Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


July 30, 2017 / Uncategorized

Our heart is working and pumping 24 hours per day. We know that one day it’s expiration date will come, so we want to live life in a manner that allows this point in time to be pushed back just a little bit further and further. Our heart health is vital to life in and of itself. Your target heart rate, which is applicable on our fitness journeys, can help determine the effectiveness of our exercise. We need to know if we are over-exercising or not getting enough activity at all.

Before we can know our target heart rate, we need to know our resting heart rate. This is the number of times your heart beats per minute when at rest. The ideal time to take this measure is in the morning before you get out of  bed and have just woken up. No activity has taken place and the heart is at its resting state.

According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp#.WVlHiemQzIU) :

  • for children 10 years and older, and adults (including seniors) is 60 – 100 beats per minute
  • for well-trained athletes is 40 – 60 beats per minute.

Your maximum heart rate is 220 – age. So take the value 220 and subtract your current age. From here, the American Heart Association provides the following directions to find your target heart rate (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp#.WVlHiemQzIU) :

  • Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
  • Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist.
  • Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute. You want to stay between 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This range is your target heart rate.

You would do this intermittently while you are working out.

Now use the following chart to determine how hard your heart is working. Again, this is according to the American Heart Association, who I felt was the most credible source for this blog (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp#.WVlHiemQzIU).

In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rate. Heart rate during moderately intense activities is about 50-69% of your maximum heart rate, whereas heart rate during hard physical activity is about 70% to less than 90% of the maximum heart rate.

The figures are averages, so use them as general guidelines.

Age Target HR Zone 50-85% Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
20 years 100-170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
30 years 95-162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93-157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90-153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88-149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85-145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83-140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80-136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years 78-132 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
70 years 75-128 beats per minute 150 beats per minute

In college my basketball coach put heart rate monitors on us to see how much effort we were really giving. A chart vs actual human activity taking into account no other factors, is up to discretion. But we know what our BODY can do and if your goal is to push your rate and be motivated by staying in a specific training zone, then monitoring your target heart rate can be an effective strategy on your fitness journey.


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