What is Your Target Heart Rate?

Dec 24, 2018

 

You Will Learn

  • What is aerobic exercise and how much do I need?
  • How can I tell if I'm working hard enough?
  • How can I figure out my target heart rate?  

 

What is Aerobic Exercise?  

Aerobic exercise is any activity that keeps your heart rate elevated for an extended period of time. Common examples include walking, jogging, biking, and swimming.  

Unconventional forms could include yard work, manual labor, strength training with short rest breaks, or playing with kids.  

The point is to work your cardiovascular system, that is why it is commonly called cardio.  

 

How Much Do I Need?  

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults get at 2 ½ – 5 hours of moderate-intensity or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of high-intensity aerobic activity per week.  

Every little bit counts. Remember high-intensity is NOT the same as high impact.  

 

How Can I Tell if I’m Working Hard Enough?  

Your target heart rate is typically defined in a range: low, moderate, or high intensity depending on how hard you are working.  

If you are new to exercise, I recommend starting at a low intensity and building up over several weeks to moderate intensity before jumping into high intensity training.  

Low Intensity: 40-50% of your maximum heart rate  

Moderate Intensity: 50-70% of your maximum heart rate  

High Intensity: 70-85% of your maximum heart rate  

It is easy to figure out your target heart rate using THIS website. All you need is your age and resting heart rate.  

To find your resting heart rate, time your pulse for 1 minute first thing in the morning before you get up and move around.  

Many fitness trackers have built in heart rate monitors but don’t always tell you how high your rate should be. It is helpful to “know your target” to ensure you are working at a high enough intensity to reap the cardiovascular benefits.  

 

Bottom Line  

If you aren’t already, get moving! Any activity is better than none. But, if you are going to put the time in the gym, be sure you are getting something out of it for your heart.  

 

Action Items  

  • Check your resting heart rate first thing in the morning. 
  • Go to THIS website to figure out your target heart rate. 
  • If you are new to exercise, try to keep your heart rate in the low to moderate range and build up over several weeks or even months to more intense exercise. 
  • Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity 5 days/week.  

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