In order to get the maximum benefits out of aerobic exercise, you need to be sure you are within your target heart range for the duration of the workout. Here is how you find that range and also how to make sure you stay in that range.
- Subtract your age from 220 (women should subtract from 226). This is a general guideline for a person with a resting heart range of 70-85 beats per minute. The number that you get is your maximum heart rate in beats per minute.
- Find 70% and 80% of your maximum heart rate to get your optimal target heart range. For all of you who aren't sure about the math, multiply your maximum heart rate number by 0.7. That number is 70% of your maximum heart rate and is on the lower end of the target heart range. Now multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.8 to find 80% of your maximum heart rate for the upper end of the target heart range.
- Divide your numbers by 6. This makes it an easy reference when taking your pulse during the workout. You can count your heartbeats for 10 seconds and then check your chart to be sure those numbers match (your heartbeats in 10 seconds x 6 = heartbeats per minute). That way you do not have to stop your workout for an entire minute to count your heart rate.
- Learn to take your pulse correctly. The best places to take your pulse are on your carotid artery in your neck (halfway between your chin and your shoulders just to the right of your trachea) or your radial artery (in your wrist). Use the first two fingers on your hand to find your pulse in these areas. Never use your thumb, as there is a residual pulse in there that can disrupt your counting.
- Keep your heart rate within in your target heart range. This is important in order to get the most out of your workout. Working out too hard is just as bad as working out too gently. Both are detrimental to your health. Take your pulse at regular intervals throughout the duration of your workout to be sure you are keeping your heart rate in the target heart range. If your heart is beating too fast, slow your workout pace. If it is not enough, speed it up or increase intensity.
There are many healthful benefits if you can keep your heart rate up during your entire workout. You will burn fat more efficiently, improve blood pressure, and most likely increase your life span.