Monitor Your Heart Rate While You Exercise

Feeling out of shape and looking to kickstart an exercise routine? Remember to monitor your heart rate to avoid any health risks

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Your maximal heart rate in BPM is estimated by subtracting your age from 220

If you’ve decided to get more physically active, congratulations! You’ve officially started down the road to a healthier you, but before you hit the gym, take a moment to consider your current fitness level and your heart’s health

Before beginning an exercise routine, talk to your doctor. While committing to fitness is a good thing, you have to be thoughtful about how you approach it, especially if you’re overweight.

This includes being aware of safe heart rates (during exercise) for both your age and your current fitness level. The heart is like any other muscle of the body; it takes time to build up its strength, and overtaxing it can put you at risk.

Your maximal heart rate in beats per minute (BMP) is estimated by subtracting your age from 220. (To determine your BMP, take your carotid pulse at the side of the neck. If you are unfit, multiply a 10-second count by six to determine the beats per minute).

Based on this figure, you can determine your target heart-rate zone during exercise. For healthy individuals, the range is 60% to 80% of maximal heart rate. However, those just starting an aerobic program should exercise at 60% of their heart rate and gradually increase the intensity as they become fitter.

Exercise Target Heart Rate By Age 
In beats per minute:

Age Min-max Heart Rate (BPM)
15 123 – 164
20 120 – 160
25 117 – 156
30 114 – 152
35 111 – 148
40 108 – 144
45 105 – 140
50 102 – 136
55 99 – 132
60 96 – 128
65 90 – 120
70 90 – 120
75 87 – 116

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.