The function of the heart depends on how fast it beats, and how much blood is pumped out with each beat. The amount of blood pumped out of the heart with each contraction is called stroke volume. It is important to increase your heart rate and stroke volume so more oxygen and nutrients reach all cells. When starting an exercise program, it is important to know how much to increase your heart rate.
Heart Rate is the number of times your heart beats in 1 minute. Take your pulse for 30 seconds (your wrist or the front of your neck are common pulse areas) and double your pulse-count to determine your heart rate (HR). HR at rest varies from 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm) but an average resting heart rate for an untrained adult is 60-80 bpm.
Next, it is good to understand Maximum Heart Rate and Target Heart Rate. This is especially important for people just starting to exercise. Maximum heart rate is estimated as (220-age of client). For example, a person 65 years old would have a maximum HR of 155 bpm. (220-65)
To determine your target heart rate, multiply your maximum HR times the intensity you want to work at. A beginning client should work at 65%-75% of their maximum HR. Using the 65 year old client, 155 bpm x 0.65=100 bpm and 155 bpm x 0.75=116 bpm. A heart rate range of 100-116 bpm is considered safe for this beginning client.
General guidelines for target heart rates are broken down into three zones.
Zone 1 intensity is 65% to75% as used in the example. Working in zone one starts to build cardiac fitness and aids in recovery.
Zone 2 intensity is 76% to 85% and increases the body’s aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
Zone 3 intensity is 86% to 95% and is used for athletes who want to build high end work capacity.
Working with a certified personal trainer who will oversee the use of these guidelines is the best, and safest way to start an exercise program.
As we continue to increase our heart rate during exercise, it is vital to learn healthy breathing patterns too. Alterations in breathing patterns can directly impact the body’s postural structure and lead to dysfunction. See my earlier blog on Postural Restorations.