Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is the number of times, per minute, that your heart beats. Once you discover your resting heart rate, you can find out what your target heart rate is. It is best to find your resting heart rate during the morning hours, after you have had a good night's sleep, but before you get out of bed. According to the American Heart Association, the average resting heart rate is 60-80 beats per minute. For people who are more physically fit, however, average heart rate is generally lower. Furthermore, as you age, your average resting heart rate will rise.
Target Heart Rate
After you have determined your resting heart rate, you will be able to learn your target heart rate. You can use the Athens-Limestone Hospital Wellness target heart rate calculator (click here) to efficiently input your resting heart rate and age and then see what your target heart rate is.
Your target heart rate helps you to measure the appropriate level of physical activity and track your fitness progress. Target heart rate is the range between 50 to 85 percent of one's maximum heart rate. The chart below shows estimates of one's average maximum heart rate and target heart rate zone based on age. Maximum heart rate can also be determined by subtracting your age from 220.
It is important to note that some high blood pressure medications lower one's maximum heart rate and one's target rate zone. If you are taking such medication, you should be wary of these effects or contact your doctor for more information.
It is crucial that you pace yourself when starting an exercise regimen or just becoming physically active. Start out by aiming for the lowest part of your target zone (50%), for about the first two or three weeks. Eventually, you should build up to the higher part of your target zone (85%). When you have exercised regularly for six months, you should be able to comfortably exercise at 85% of your maximum heart rate. You don't necessarily have to exercise that hard to stay physically fit.
Alternatively, if you find it difficult to take your pulse while exercising, use the tips below to help you gauge the intensity of your workout:
If you are able to walk and talk simultaneously, you are not working too hard.
If you are able to sing and maintain the same level of effort in your physical activity, you probably are not working hard enough.
If you are losing your breath quickly, or have to stop and catch your breath, it is likely that you are working too hard.