Interactive Tool: What Is Your Target Heart Rate? - How can you use your target heart rate?
You can use
your target heart rate to know how hard to exercise to gain the most aerobic
benefit from your workout. You can exercise within your target heart rate to
either maintain or raise your aerobic fitness level. To raise your fitness
level, you can work harder while exercising to raise your heart rate toward the
upper end of your target heart rate range. If you have not been exercising
regularly, you may want to start at the low end of your target heart rate range
and gradually exercise harder.
To take your heart rate during
exercise, you can count the beats in a set period of time (for example, 30
seconds) and then multiply by a number to get the number of beats per minute.
For example, if you count your heartbeat for 30 seconds, double that number to
get the number of beats per minute. You can also wear a heart rate monitor
during exercise so you do not have to take your pulse. A heart rate monitor
shows your pulse rate continuously, so you see how exercise changes your heart
rate. Then you can work harder or easier to keep your heart working in your
target heart rate range.
Target heart rate is only a guide. Each
individual is different, so pay attention to how you feel, how hard you are
breathing, how fast your heart is beating, and how much you feel the exertion
in your muscles.
Try to make physical activity a regular and essential
part of your day. But if you haven't been active, start slowly and be sure to
talk to your doctor before you add regular exercise to your day. For more
information, see the topic
Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.