Nearly all kinds of exercises are beneficial for your body and mind. But, depending on your unique physiology, some types of exercises may be damaging for your body.
So, how can you be sure that you are getting the most from your daily workout routine? How can you be sure that you are staying at a fitness level that’s safe and healthy for you?
Answer: Monitor your heart rate. More specifically, monitor how hard your heart is working while you exercise. This is called Target heart Rate. It’s a kind of sweet spot between overexerting yourself while exercising and not exercising hard enough.
A target heart rate calculator can help you calculate just that. Before we get into details, let’s first look at different types of heart rates.
What Is Your Heart Rate?
Your HR is the number of heartbeats per minute. It’s also known as pulse. Depending on what you are doing at a particular moment in time, your heart rate can change.
It changes in response to a physical stimulus such as exercising and emotional stimulus, like anxiety, stress, excitement, etc. Below are three main types of heart rate.
Resting Heart Rate
Athlete resting heart rate or simply resting heart rate is the number of heartbeats per minute when your body is at complete rest. It’s usually the lowest heart rate because you are not active.
Measure this heart rate when you are idle or resting and in the absence of any emotional stimulus or illness. Normal RHR for a healthy individual is 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Maximum heart Rate
MHR – as the name suggests – is the maximum rate your heart can beat. It’s when you are at the maximum level of physical activity. One easy way to calculate your max heart rate is by deducting your age from 220.
For instance, if you are 20, your MHR is 200. But, this is just a rough estimation, and your actual MHR may be slightly different.
Target Heart Rate
Roughly speaking, think of the target heart rate as the middle ground between the RHR and MHR. It’s a kind of fitness goal, I.e. how fast you want your heart to beat while exercising (to measure exercise intensity).
Obviously, your personal THR will depend on your age as well as your fitness level. That means your THR will change as you grow old or become more fit.
How to Calculate Target Heart Rate (THR)
There are three very easy ways to calculate your THR:
1. Target Heart Rate Calculator
The first method is to use any online target heart rate calculator. You have to enter your age and your level of exercise (this is usually a percentage of your maximum heart rate) and then hit on Calculate. The target heart rate calculator will calculate your THR within a few moments.
Target heart rate is usually an expression of your maximum heart rate percentage. So, for instance, if you are at a 50 percent exertion level, you can easily calculate your THR as 50 percent of that maximum.
In other words, your THR will be 85 heartbeats per minute. Likewise, if you are at an 85 percent exertion level, your THR will be 145 heartbeats a minute.
Therefore, if you are a 50-year-old, you should aim for 85 to 145 heartbeats per minute THR during your exercise routine. Not more, not less!
2. THR Monitoring Gadgets
There’s another easy way to calculate your THR if you want to skip the math: Use the THR calculator gadget. You can wear a simple fitness tracking device
, smartwatch, exercise on a treadmill, or utilize any other easily accessible gadget that calculates your target heart rate.
3. Monitor your Heart Rate Zone Manually
If you don’t have access to a THR monitoring gadget or internet, you can use this method.
Start with taking your heart rate five minutes into your exercise session. Afterward, retake your heart rate before going into the cool down. You can easily do so by taking your pulse or using a heart rate monitor/tracker/smartwatch.
How to take your pulse for the target heart rate?
There are two main arteries to take your pulse. The first is the carotid artery at your neck, and the second is the radial artery along your wrist. Get a timing device that shows in seconds, and then follow the steps below:
1. Use your two fingers (except your thumb) to find your pulse in the carotid artery. It’s located on either side of your windpipe, just below your jaw.
2. Then, count your pulse for about 10 seconds and multiply by six. You can also count to 15 seconds and multiply it by four. Therefore, if you get 20 beats per 10 seconds, your heartbeat turns out to be 120 bpm. Likewise, if you count 20 beats in 15 seconds, your heart rate turns out to be 80 bpm.
3. For the first few times, you may have to stop to do it the first time. But, once you get the hang of it, you can continue your exercise while calculating your target heart rate.
Experts suggest that you perform exercise or any other physical activity within 55 to 85 percent of your max heart rate. You have to indulge in this activity for about 20 to 30 minutes to get the best results.
We hope now you know how to find the target heart rating. Knowing your target heart rate is fundamental to monitoring your fitness goals. And a target heart rate calculator can help you do that.
Once you understand your THR, you can adjust your goals accordingly (if you want to aim for a higher level). Remember, target heart rate is just your guide. You shouldn’t get overly fixated on these numbers.
Ideally speaking, these numbers should push you to work harder and get more fit.