Finding the ideal heart rate for training

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[quote]”Heart rate monitoring is the single most accurate means to understanding how your body is responding to exercise and the activities of daily life.”[/quote]

Mark GorelickPhD (Biomedical Science), Director of Product Science & Innovation at Mio Global …

Heart rate, which is sometimes referred as heart pulse, is the frequency with which the heart beats are measured. Instead of Hz/Hertz, we use beats per minute (bpm) as the standard unit of measurement for heart. The heart frequency can vary according to the body’s physical activities and needs [usally tied to the amount of oxygen absorbtion and Carbon dioxide release]. 60–100 bpm is medically accepted as a normal resting adult human heart rate. However, during sleep, it can come down to 40–50 BPM.

Most effective fitness training can be acheived if you really care about how heart healthy you are during the training. To determine the Heart rate zone, you’d need to know your Resting and Maximum Heart Rate. You can use this script to find your zone.

Manual method to find the resting and maximum heart rate (To get rough calculation):

Resting pulse should be measured first thing in the morning. To measure, put your middle and index finger to either your radial artery on your wrist or your carotid artery in your neck. You can either wait for an entire minute and count the beats or count how many beats occur in 20 seconds, and multiply this number by 3.

Maximum heart rate is the highest number of heart beats per minute (bpm) when exercising maximally. This is best measured during a maximal exercise test, in which the body is pushed to its physical limit. To measure your maximum heart rate, run as fast as you can for 5 minutes and then measure the pulse. This will be close to 208-(0.7 multiplied by your age). For example, for a 35 year old guy, it should be around 184bpm. (Tanaka, H., Monahan, K.D., & Seals, D.R. (2001). Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited. J Am Coll Cardiol. Jan;37(1):153-6.)

The most commonly used formula is to take your age (in years) away from 220. For example, if you are 35, your predicted max heart rate is 185 bpm (220 – 35). The formula was derived from a range of maximum heart rate studies in 1970 by William Haskell and Samuel Fox.

Assisted method to find the resting and maximum heart rate (Close to precise):

You can also measure using fitness trackers/activity trackers with heart rate monitor or wearable heart rate monitor. Not all the trackers come with heart rate monitors. Some comes with a built in optical heart rate monitor (like Fitbit surge), and some comes with bio-impedence sensor based heart rate monitor (like Jawbone UP 3). Yet another class of activity tracker comes without any inbuilt heart rate monitors. But if you have an activity tracker that comes with low power Bluetooth (BLE) or ANT+ enabled (like Garmin Vivofit 2), that would be the most reliable in the affordable class. Also note that, the current market is flooded with so many trackers that do not support heart rate monitoring.

To find your resting heart rate, the second option is to have a wearable heart rate monitor like the Rhythm+ or the Wohoo Tickr X chest strap. You can pair this with your smartphone (along with apps like Sleep as Android) and get your resting heart rate.

Medical method to find the resting and maximum heart rate (Very precise):

The most accurate way is to consult with a Human Performance Laboratory to conduct a metabolic exercise stress assessment. [This technique is out of scope for this article].

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