Ask an expert

15 Apr 2004

heartrate during exercise at a certain age
What would be an easy rule to follow to determine what my heartrate should be during excercise at any age, for males
and for females?
What would the ideal time be to keep your heartrate at that tempo?
How long afterwards should my heartrate be back to a pre-exercise rate?
Answer 244 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Frik

The general equation is that your maximum heart rate is equal to about 220 minus your age. For females, this equation is also relevant, although you will sometimes see that people use the equation 215 minus the age. The fact that there are 2 different equations shows you that these equations are not precise and they are at best, very rough estimates.

There are no hard and fast rules for heart rate and exercise. Therefore, i can't answer a question about what the heart rate should or should not be, or how quickly it will drop down. THere are certainly general guidelines, and I'll try to explain these to you, but the best way to use a HRM is to learn your body, and learn how your own heart rate behaves in training, and then compare this from one day to the next, rather than comparing between people.

When you train for general fitness and weight loss, it is best to train at an intensity that corresponds to between 70 and 90% of this maximum heart rate. For example, you might do a 40 minute run at 75 to 80% of maximum, and this is a good session for weight loss and improved fitness. Generally, aim to train for between 30 and 45 minutes per session (at least) and on 4 to 5 days per week. The intensity, as mentioned, will range between 70 and 90% of maximum, depending on the exercise you do and the goals for that session. For improved performance, train at 85% of max and above. For weight loss and fitness, train at between 70 and 80% of maximum.

Do not get caught up in to believing the heart rate monitor as the final authority in your fitness level. The best way to use your heart rate monitor is to use it to compare training sessions from week to week. Therefore, if you train one day doing a particular session, take note of your heart rate. The next time you do the exact same session (say 30 minutes run at 12 km/hour), you should be able to compare your heart rate during the session. If it is lower, then it indicates that you are fitter than before, and your training is going well. If it is higher, then it shows that you are either tired, or training too hard or are possibly becoming ill. This is a sign that you are in need of a few easy training days.

It is important that you don't think of heart rate as the absolute indication of fitness or health. It is the differences between heart rates in exactly the same session that is important, and understanding how your own individual heart rate differs from week to week will allow you to train with great precision.

Lastly, remember that heart rate depends on many factors - hydration, mood, stress levels, temperature and so on. Therefore, if your heart rate is not exactly what you think it should be, don't worry too much. Rather look at long term changes and patterns in heart rate, and try to interpret them as I explained above.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.