We all know that physical activity is important, but how are you supposed to monitor the intensity of it? You don’t want to over-exercise, but you also don’t want to not get enough exercise. To help with this is your heart, and your target heart rate is what lets you know when you’ve hit the sweet-spot in your exercises.
Before you can calculate what your target heart rate should be, you need to know what your resting heart rate is. According the National Institute of Health, the average individual’s resting heart rate ranges between 60-100 heart beats per minute. You can check your heart rate by taking your pulse on the inside of your wrist.
Now that you know your resting heart rate, it’s time to calculate your target heart rate. In order to do this you’ll need to periodically check your pulse during your workout session. Below are tips, and a general chart, from the American Heart Association to help find your target heart rate.
- 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.
(American Heart Association site).
While this chart is just a general guideline, the American Heart Association is your best bet of figuring out your target heart rate.
Now, there are some things that you need to take into consideration while you’re trying to figure out your target heart rate. Are you taking medication? How is your blood pressure? These are examples of factors in your health that can affect your calculations.
Similarly, listen to your body! It knows when it’s straining, or when the activity is minimal. If you feel yourself struggling too much while exercising, you might be over-doing it. Listening to your body can help you to determine what activities are good for you, and will make identifying your target heart rate that much easier.