Do you fully understand your heart rate and what it means to your body and your overall health?
Heart rate is just the number of times your heart beats in a minute. Heart rate will vary from person to person and also from situation to situation. In different times throughout the day, depending on your situation, you will see an increase or decrease in your heart rate. Your overall physical condition, genetics and your age can also affect your heart rate.
Heart rate is also used by many people during exercise to judge their personal fitness and stamina. This can help you determine what level you have reached in your routine.
Types of Heart Rate
Here are some terms you may hear mentioned when talking about heart rate.
- Exercise heart rate
- Fat burning heart rate
- Maximum heart rate
- Resting heart rate
- Target heart rate
These mainly refer to different types of heart rate based on your current activity.
Exercise heart rate refers to using your heart rate to determine the intensity of your current level of activity. People also use it to help them judge how many calories they may be burning while exercising. These are all estimates of course.
Resting heart rate, as the name implies is the average heart rate while resting. For the average person, the resting heart rate is between 55-85 times per minute. For people who exercise regularly and are more physically fit, the resting heart rate is generally lower. As people age or if they have other health problems and physical problems, the resting heart rate will increase. Resting heart rate is also used in the measurements to help determine your target heart rate.
Finding a Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate is the goal heart rate you want to have for exercise training. Physically active people, sports enthusiasts and people going through physical therapy will all use a target heart rate when they exercise. This is the number that you try to reach during exercise and the estimation that circulation is working at its most efficient capacity.
To determine your personal target heart rate, it is usually suggested that you subtract your age in years from the number 220 and multiply this number by 0.65 or 0.70. Your age in years subtracted from the number 220 is your maximum heart rate.
Maximum heart rate, MHR, is the highest number of times per minute the heart is capable of beating safely. Pushing your heart beyond this number is dangerous because you can cause your heart to go into fibrillation. MHR varies according to age, as the equation to figure it out will show you.
Your fat burning heart rate is sometimes called the "fat burning zone" and there has been controversy over this and whether or not it really exists. There are also questions about whether it is healthy to push for a fat burning heart rate.
Since the 90's, some health experts have believed that the body burns more calories during low intensity workouts than high intensity workouts. This led people to think that a low intensity workout with a lower heart rate would help you lose weight more effectively than higher intensity workouts. There is still considerable debate over whether or not this is true and most people choose to test it for themselves and determine.
The most important thing is to always exercise in a healthy and safe manner. Always check with your doctor about your exercise regimen. If you have concerns regarding your heart rate or you suspect you may have an unhealthy heart rate, you should see your doctor right away.