We all know that our heart beats faster when we workout; but what does that faster pulse rate indicate and what are its benefits? Should you monitor your heart rate; if so why and how can you do this?
Why should you monitor your heart or pulse rate?
An elevated pulse (more heart beats per minute) indicates that you are having a more intense workout and gaining more benefit in terms of conditioning the cardiovascular system as well as facilitating weight loss.
Another reason to monitor heart rate is to make sure that you are not overexerting. It is an indication that you should perhaps slow down, improve your fitness levels gradually and then crank up the intensity later.
What are resting heart rate, working heart rate and recovery heart rate?
Resting heart rate is that which you take before getting out of bed in the morning. For very fit people, resting heart rate is lower. Yourworking heart rate is attained when you’re working out – typically this is much faster and is a workout as much for your heart as your entire body.
The recovery heart rate is calculated a few seconds after stopping activity and then a few minutes after to gauge how quickly and efficiently the heart can return to its normal rate.
What should be your target pulse rate for a good workout?
To get a good workout you should be aiming to achieve a certain percentage of the maximum heart rate which is determined based on your age. The general formula for calculating the max heart rate to aim for is to subtract your age from 220. So if you are 40, your max heart rate target should be 180 (220 minus 40).
A good workout with sufficient intensity should aim for about 60 to 80% of your max heart rate, however this is subject to a person’s physical fitness, the amount of weight they carry and health conditions that they may have if any. So, before doing any strenuous workouts check with your doctor about restrictions.
How can you take your pulse or heart rate?
Detect a clear pulse point (the inner wrist is the best). Using three of your fingers, place them on the pulse in a way that you can feel the pulse clearly. Using a stopwatch or a clock with a second hand, count how many times your heart beats in 10 seconds. Then multiply this number with 6 to arrive at your pulse rate. Normal adults will have a pulse rate of between 60 and 100.