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Heart Rate During Exercise – How Does Heart Rate Change with Exercise?

Heart Rate During Exercise How Does Heart Rate Change with Exercise

Active heart rate is a measurement of a person’s heart activity during exercise. People can use it to optimize their workouts by ensuring that their heart rate stays within the ideal range. If you’re wondering how to understand the effectiveness of your workout, look no further than your heart. Yes, that pounding you feel in your chest when you train can give some astounding insights. So, what exactly happens to your heart rate during exercise? And what does it tell us?

A person can quickly calculate their ideal active heart rate by subtracting their age from 220. This calculation provides the person’s maximum heart rate.

Their target heart rate during exercise will be between 64% and 76% of that number during moderate intensity exercise and in the range of 77–93% for vigorous intensity exercise.

Your heart rate, or pulse, is measured in beats per minute (bpm). During cardio exercise such as running, your heart rate increases. Your heart rate while running can be a good measurement of how hard you’re working.

As your pace and work rate increase, so does your heart rate. Blood circulates to your muscles so they can get the oxygen and nutrients they need to keep going.

You can determine your target heart rate during exercise using a formula based on your age and maximum heart rate. When exercise, you should train at 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate the maximum rate, subtract your age from 220.

Although target heart rates might seem too complicated for beginners, it’s important information to know regardless of your fitness level.

Here’s a simple way to determine your maximum and target heart rates: Subtract your age from 220 to figure out your maximum heart rate. For example, if you are 35, your maximum heart rate is 185 beats per minute. Your target heart rate is 50% to 85% of that number, or 93 beats to 157 beats per minute. These numbers are based on a healthy adult.

Sustaining a workout at this pace improves cardiorespiratory endurance. So knowing your target heart rate during exercise helps you pace your workouts. Exercising at the right level of intensity will help you avoid burning out or wasting time with a workout that’s not vigorous enough to help you meet your goals.

Here’s a simple way to determine your maximum and target heart rate during exercise: Subtract your age from 220 to figure out your maximum heart rate. For example, if you are 35, your maximum heart rate is 185 beats per minute. Your target heart rate is 50% to 85% of that number, or 93 beats to 157 beats per minute. These numbers are based on a healthy adult.

The fitness world is full of exercise gadgets. Some are good, but many are more trouble than they are worth. Regardless of what shape you are in, 1 device you might find useful is a heart rate monitor.

How To Determine Your Ideal Heart Rate During Exercise

How To Determine Your Ideal Heart Rate During Exercise

To determine your ideal heart rate during exercise , you’ll first need to calculate your maximum heart rate.

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.

For example, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 190.

Keep in mind, this is just a guide. Your maximum heart rate may vary 15 to 20 bpm in either direction.

The American Heart Association recommends exercising with a target heart rate of 50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate for beginners, and for moderately intense exercise.

You can work at 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate during vigorous activity. Follow the table below as a general guide. Your heart rate may be 15 to 20 bpm higher or lower. Use a monitor to keep track.

How To Determine Your Ideal Heart Rate During Exercise

Feel Your Heart Rate

Now that you know what your target heart rate should be, you can calculate your heart or pulse rate using a watch. To take your wrist, or radial, pulse, hold one hand in front of you palm upward. Gently place the index and middle fingers of the other hand near the thumb-side of the wrist to feel the pulse. You should not need to press hard to feel the pulse. It is generally better to check the radial pulse, but if for some reason you need to check your neck, or carotid pulse, be sure to check only one side at a time. Never press hard. Count the beats for 10 seconds, then multiply this number by 6 to give you the beats per minute.

This method is fine for many exercisers. If you like the idea of having that information instantly available in the middle of a workout, you might want to buy a monitor.

Heart rate monitors aren’t as exact as an electrocardiogram (ECG) test, but they can be very accurate. The most inexpensive models have 2 parts: a small transmitter mounted on a belt that wraps around your chest, and a device like a wristwatch that displays the numbers. There are no wires. The watch-like monitor picks up signals from the transmitter. More modern devices have the ECG recorder embedded in a watch and watchband. It can not only detect heart rate but also record the heart rhythm.

If you have an irregular heart rhythm, heart rate monitors are not accurate for you. If you aren’t aware of this, your results can cause panic. The sensors are not sensitive enough to tell the difference between early heart beats and may calculate a very low heart rate. The sensors may also pick up vibrations from a moving car or using an electric toothbrush and calculate a high heart rate in error. Don’t panic. Check with your healthcare provider to make sure you are OK. More modern watches are able to detect abnormal heart rhythms with more accuracy than just heart rate monitors. But the accuracy of these newer wearable devices is not yet known. But, if you feel tired, have chest pressure, or feel faint, seek immediate medical attention.

Run Up Your Heart Rate

Your heart rate during exercise will change depending on what type of exercise you are doing. For example, weight training can get your heart rate up to about 70% of its upper limit. It won’t stay that high for long, because lifting weights isn’t a constant effort.

On the other hand, people who ride stationary bikes can generally maintain 75% of their target heart rate for about 30 minutes of a 40-minute workout.

Runners who are in great shape also will generally maintain a high heart rate for long periods, approaching 80% to 85% for miles at a time.

Help Your Heart Work Stronger

Help Your Heart Work Stronger

Cardiovascular exercise (also called aerobic exercise) is especially effective in keeping your heart healthy and reaching your target heart rate. This specific type of exercise gets your heart beating fast for several minutes at a time.

Target heart rate is defined as the minimum number of heartbeats in a given amount of time in order to reach the level of exertion necessary for cardiovascular fitness, specific to a person’s age, gender, or physical fitness.

The following is an estimate given by the American Heart Association for target heart rate numbers for adults ages 45 to 70:

45 years: 88 to 149 beats per minute
50 years: 85 to 145 beats per minute
55 years: 83 to 140 beats per minute
60 years: 80 to 136 beats per minute
65 years: 78 to 132 beats per minute
70 years: 75 to 128 beats per minute

What Can Affect Your Heart Rate During Exercise?

Training Background

Athletes with an extensive background in aerobic training have more efficient heart muscles. The capacity of their left ventricles has increased and the ventricular muscles have become stronger, leading to an increased stroke volume. This increased stroke volume can be observed as a lower resting heart rate as well as a lower training heart rate.


As your temperature increases, so does the need to cool your body down. This is achieved by your blood flow being directed closer to the surface of the skin. The accelerated circulation requires your heart to beat faster, which means that your heart rate goes up.

When the surrounding air cools down, circulation in peripheral parts of the body decreases so your heart has less work to do concerning circulation. This causes your heart rate to decrease.


When you’re dehydrated, the amount of plasma in your blood decreases. This forces your heart to pump faster than normal to provide enough oxygen and nutrients to muscles in peripheral parts of the body. This helps you maintain an adequate body temperature and is the reason why your heart rate tends to go up when you’re dehydrated.

Overall Health

A person’s general health status and current fitness level have a significant influence on heart rate. If a person is not used to exercise, their heart may have to work harder during physical activity, causing their heart rate to be higher.


Stress, anxiety, anger, and even happiness can also raise the heart rate during exercise.

Why Train With Heart Rate?

Your heart rate is a useful tool for understanding and improving your fitness level and performance. Training with heart rate allows you to monitor and control the intensity of your workouts, allowing for variation in your training plan.

The best part of training with heart rate means that every second of your workout counts. By monitoring your heart rate during exercise, you’ll enhance both your fitness and recovery time, which combined will improve your overall performance.

Heart rate training can be an effective way to measure how hard your body is working while exercise. Remember not to push yourself to the point of complete exhaustion when training.

Trying to keep your heart rate up in a comfortable zone can be challenging. Work with a running coach or fitness professional to design workouts at an appropriate level for you. Always see your doctor before starting a new exercise or fitness routine.

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