Heart Rate: Does It Make a Difference with Exercise?
by Rochelle Griffin
To lose weight or get into shape, most of us know that it takes a healthy diet and exercise regime to do it. There IS an aspect, however, during exercise that many tend to overlook and I’m frequently asked about: heart rate.
Heart rate is a great indicator of the intensity of our exercise at any given moment. It’s kind of like the Three Little Bears…”too low” means it’s not really helping our fitness or weight loss, “too high” could mean a cardiac incident (yea, we don’t want this,) and then there is “just right.”
“Just right” is the sweet spot of being in the zone with your aerobic fitness.
Whether you have a heart rate monitor, are using an iPhone app (yep, there IS one…and it works really well. It’s called Instant Heart Rate,) or are calculating it on your own, it’s important that you take the time to know where your heart rate should be during exercise.
To do this, you’ll want to do a little math to calculate your maximum heart rate:
1) Subtract your age from 220 for your maximum heart rate.
For example, I am 45 years old. 220-45= 175.
2) Now it’s time to figure out appropriate ranges:
a) Light intensity is 40-50% of your maximum heart rate.
b) Moderate intensity is 50-70% of your maximum heart rate.
c) Vigorous intensity is 70-85% of your maximum heart rate.
For example, my maximum heart rate is 175. To calculate my light range, I multiply 175 by .4 (40%) and by .5 (50%) for a range of 70-88. To calculate my moderate range, I multiply 175 by .5 and by .7 (70%) for a range of 88-123. To calculate my vigorous intensity, I multiply 175 by .7 and by .85 (85%) for a range of 123-149.
If you don’t have a heart rate monitor or a smartphone, it’s easy to check your rate. Stop exercising for a moment, take your pulse for 15 seconds, and then multiply by 4. Boom…you have your rate.
Compare the rate with the 3 different ranges, and you’ll know where you stand and whether or not you need to adjust your exercise.
For example, during exercise, I want to make sure that I’m always below 149 for safety reasons. If I go above it, I know that I need to pull back a bit on my intensity level.
Typically when you are just starting out with exercise, you want to stay in the light to moderate range. Choose the types of activities that are appropriate for your current fitness level. However, always consult your physician because sometimes medications will lower or speed up your heart…which will make a difference. Ultimately it’s about being safe. Please get cleared by your doc.
While it is important to know your heart rate, keep in mind that caloric burn also has to do with the duration of your exercise. Also remember that monitoring your heart rate during exercise is simply a tool and one piece of the puzzle. To effectively lose weight or get into shape, you must be eating nutritional foods, getting enough sleep, as well as engaging in fitness.
If you take the time and put all of these pieces together, you’ll find that your puzzle fits “just right.”
To Living Your Best Life,
Rochelle Griffin, RN BSN FDN-P
Rochelle Griffin, The Wellness Detective™, is a Registered Nurse (with over 22 years experience) & a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition™ Practitioner who has transitioned her love for fitness, health, & freedom into a 7-figure International company that now helps others live Their Best Life.
She founded Your Best Life, Inc with her husband Keith after stepping onto the edge of physical ruin with her health & the health of their young son. Having experienced a complete turn-around, they now desire to give hope & support to those who are dissatisfied with their current situation.
PS. If you found this post to be of any value to you, please COMMENT below!