An unusual first-rate report on the topic of heart health.
Heart rate after exercise may be used as an indicator of your heart fitness.
Normal resting heart rate
According to the National Institute of Health, normal average resting heart rate should be:
- 60 – 100 beats per minutes for children 10 years and older, as well as adults/seniors
- 40-60 beats per minute for well-trained athletes
Target heart rate during exercise
For moderate intensity activities your target heart rate is 50 – 69% maximum heart rate. For vigorous activity levels your target heart rate is 70-85% maximum heart rate.
To calculate your target heart rate subtract your age from 220. This gives you your maximum heart rate. Now, multiple your maximum heart rate by 0.5 and 0.69 to obtain your target heart rate range for moderate intensity activities. Multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.7 and 0.85 to obtain your target heart rate range for vigorous activities.
Depending on your goal intensity – moderate vs. vigorous – your heart rate should fall within your target heart rate range during activities.
If you are typically inactive, set your goal for the lower end (50-60% maximum heart rate) and work your way up over time.
There are blood pressure medications that lower maximum heart rates. Discuss with your doctor if you currently take blood pressure medications. Your target heart rate zone may need to be adjusted.
How to measure heart rate
The easiest and most accessible location for measuring heart rate during exercise is your wrist. Please your index and middle fingers over the underside of your opposite wrist and press until your feel your pulse.
Once you locate your pulse, count the beats for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to obtain beats per minute. Alternate time lengths for measuring:
- Count the beats for 15 seconds and multiply by 4
- Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply by 6
If you want to check your resting heart rate, rest for at least 10 minutes period to measuring.
When exercise, if your heart rate is too high you working too hard and need to slow down. The opposite is also true, if your heart rate is too slow, you need to increase your intensity.
Once you have a feel for where your heart rate falls when working out, you can also estimate your heart rate by using the talk test.
- If you can talk with no trouble, pick up the pace.
- If you can talk, but need to take a breath every 4-5 words, you’re right on track.
- If you’re gasping for breath after every word, slow down!
Post exercise heart rate
The better your heart fitness, the quicker heart rate after exercise returns to normal.
Typically, heart rate drops quickly within the first minute after exercise. After this initial drop, it should then continue to return to normal at a rate of ~20 beats per minute.
Heart rate benefits of exercising
Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, enlarges and strengths the heart muscle allowing the heart to circulate more blood with each beat. This means as the heart is strengthened it can beat slower during activity (and at rest).
A high resting heart rate has been associated with increased risk of heart disease independent of other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
A low resting heart rate is generally an indicator better heart health.
If you are working to increase your activity level but struggle sticking with it week after week access How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Lifelong Habits here.
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