Monitoring your heart rate throughout the day can tell you a bit about your cardiovascular health. What’s more, it also helps to check on it during aerobic exercise, in order to maximize benefits. See, cardio is called cardio for a reason…it helps boost your cardiovascular health! You can optimize your health benefits by hitting a goal when it comes to your heart rate. Let’s explore the importance of knowing your heart rate.
Heart rate during aerobic exercise and target heart rates
Just exercising at all is all well and good, but tracking certain metrics can help you fine tune your workout and optimize it for maximum gains! Let’s talk about target heart rates.
When you’re working out, you want to get the maximum benefits for your efforts. You don’t want to fall short of an effective cardio workout. In order to get your heart pumping at the ideal rate, it’s important to know what your target heart rate is. Target heart rate varies based on age. You can find a handy chart here from the American Heart Association. Your target heart rate will be listed as a range, for example, the target heart rate for a 30 year old is 95-162 bpm (beats per minute). Keeping your heart rate between these two numbers means an effective, heart-healthy workout.
You’ll also see a maximum heart rate during aerobic exercise for your age as well. Stay under this number during your workout to prevent overtaxing your heart.
Resting heart rate
Now, you’ve done your workout and maximized your benefits by monitoring your heart rate, why should you care about what your heart rate is at rest? Well, your resting heart rate, as it’s called, can tell you a lot about your heart health. At its very basics, a lower heart rate=healthier heart, while a higher heart rate may mean your heart is working harder than it has to. When your heart is healthy and strong, it’s also efficient. So it needs to pump less often in order to get blood flowing through the body. When your heart is not as strong, it needs to pump more often in order to get the same amount of work done.
So what are normal resting heart rates, what’s an ideal heart rate, and what is considered too high (or too low) of a heart rate? In general, resting heart rate (measured in beats per minute, or bpm) usually will measure somewhere between the 60’s to 100 bpm. A healthy heart rate is towards the lower end. If you can get your resting heart rate to the 70’s or 60’s, that’s great! Professional athletes or those who work out intensively may even get as low as the 50’s.
How to measure heart rate
There are a number of heart rate monitoring devices on the market these days. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch are becoming more and more popular, but if you’re really into getting the most accurate reading possible, consider a chest strap device that can read your heart rate and transmit via bluetooth to your phone.
Both smart watches and chest strap heart rate monitors are helpful because they display your heart rate on a screen in front of you, allowing you to ramp up or tone down your workout as needed. While chest strap monitors are specially designed for working out, they’re not really designed for full time daily use, so for if you’re monitoring your resting heart rate as well, maybe consider a quality smartwatch like an Apple Watch.
Need some more workout tips? Check out our blog on cardio workouts for beginners.