Calculating Heart Rate
Maximum Heart Rate
The Maximum Heart Rate is determined by the participants age. This is the level that must never be exceeded. Never exercise even near the maximum heart rate. Drugs, illness, coffee, and alcohol can push the heart rate to dangerous levels. The maximum heart rate is determined as follows:
Resting Heart Rate
Heart rate is an accurate measure of your performance during the aerobic session. However, it is not the only indicator of your fitness level. The Resting Heart Rate (RHR) is measured for three consecutive mornings before you get out of bed. Keep a watch or clock with a second hand to count the beats and count for 10 seconds then multiply the total 10 second count by 6. The number you get is your resting heart rate. As your cardiovascular system becomes stronger, the resting heart rate will become lower.
Target Heart Rate
The Target Heart Rate is the heart rate range that the participant should try to maintain during exercise. The participants fitness level determines which of the three intensity levels Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced should be maintained. For each category, approximately 4 to 6 weeks should pass before moving to the next level assuming at least three aerobic sessions a week.
An example calculation using the Karvonen Method for a 40 year old with a resting heart rate of 50 bpm for a desired aerobic intensity of 75% would be:
Recovery Heart Rate
The heart rate should be below 120 after 2 to 5 minutes after exercise stops depending on fitness level. If the heart rate is higher, insufficient cool-down or low fitness level may be the cause. Slow heart rate recovery can also be due to illness or exercising too vigorously. If this is the case, reduce the intensity of the exercise thereby adjusting the heart rate. Final heart rate check at the end of the aerobic workout should be below 100 bpm.
The standard metabolic equivalent, or MET, level. This unit is used to estimate the amount of oxygen used by the body during physical activity.