Heart Rate Article

Heart rate and Cardiovascular Fitness
Heart rate, or pulse, is defined as the number of times that the heart beats per minute. Fitness
levels can be determined by measuring heart rates and more importantly, Resting Heart Rates. No,
resting heart rate does not mean that your heart is taking a nap! Resting heart rate is the frequency
or the amount of times that your heart beats as you are seated and comfortably at rest. The best time
to take a resting heart rate is during the morning after you have been sleeping. Normal resting heart
rates range from about 50-100 beats per minute. Highly trained athletes, like Lance Armstrong and
Michael Phelps, have resting heart rates that are on the lower end of the scale and sometimes below
30 beats per minute. This is because the heart is more efficient and can deliver more required
oxygen to their body cells per beat.
What Your Muscles Need and How It Gets There
Your muscles need a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients during exercise. The heart
pumps these supplies to the muscles and also quickly clears the waste products away. The oxygen
and the nutrients that the heart pumps to the muscles, are used to create energy and make the
muscles move and do work. Therefore when the muscles need more oxygen and nutrients to do
work, the heart will pump faster to meet the muscle’s demands. This increase in heart rate tells us
that our body is using more energy to continue doing work, or in our case exercise. The energy that
the body uses comes from carbohydrates and FAT. The body will burn stored fat with greatest
efficiency, or the fastest, at a heart rate ranging from about 70% to 90% of your maximum heart
rate. For this reason we will be monitoring or, keeping track, of our heart rate throughout our gym
Maximum heart rate is calculated by taking 220 and subtracting your age from it.
220 – AGE = maximum heart rate
220 – 10 = 210 beats per min
If we were to compute, or figure out the range in which our heart rate should be at we would take
70% and 90% of 200.
210bpm x 70% = 147bpm
(210bpm x .7 = 147bpm)
210bpm x 90% = 189bpm (210bpm x .9 = 189bpm)
In the Training Zone
These numbers, 147bpm to 189bpm, tell us that in order to burn fat the easiest, our
Heart rate should be
between 147 and 189
beats per minute. The
range between 70% and
90% are also known as
Heart Rate Training
Zones. Maintaining a
heart rate in these zones
for 15 to 30 minutes will
maximize the benefits of
your workout.
So how do you take your heart rate or
You may take your pulse at the base of the
neck by pressing lightly on the carotid artery located
to the left or right of your Adam's apple. However,
too much pressure placed on this artery may cause the
heart to slow down. A more accurate place to count
the pulse is at the wrist. Count your Pulse for 6
seconds and add a zero to that number. Or you can
count your pulse for 10 seconds and then multiply by
Pictured at right is where the radial
pulse can be located. Luckily we can use our Heart
Rate baton to take our pulse. This is more accurate
than the two easy methods that are pictured.
Key Points
Read Carefully
Remember: The greater need for oxygen the muscles have, the faster the heart will pump. Using
more muscles to do an exercise will also make the heart pump faster. The faster the heart is pumping
the more energy we are using. When we are exercising we want to keep the heart rate at 70% to
90% of our maximum heart rate to burn fat the easiest and the fastest. If your heart rate is not with
in the target heart rate you can increase or decrease the heart rate by increasing or decreasing how
hard that you are exercising. We can lower our resting heart rates by exercising 5 times a week for
at least 45 minutes. Exercises that keep our heart rates between 147 to 189 increases bone strength,
physical appearance, self-concept, metabolism, and muscle strength and endurance. Those exercises
also increase the amount of blood pumped per beat or stroke volume, and help us exercise longer. It
decreases; percent of body fat, stress, chance of heart disease, resting heart rate, anxiety, and blood
You need to exercise 5 times a week for at least 45 minutes at 70% to 90% of your maximum
heart to have the maximum benefits from exercise. When you start an exercise program, start out
slow. Walking around the block for 15-20 minutes with a friend is the best way to start. When you
start out slow and do not exercise too much, your body will not be sore. You have to gradually
increase the amount of time and the intensity that you are performing your exercise. If you are
interested in trying to loose some weight, walking after dinner and drinking lots of water through out
the day is the best way to start. Have fun while exercising and remember, “Without your health, you
have nothing!”
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