When the fitness industry started its boom in the early 1980’s the measuring of your pulse rate just after your aerobics workout was something that was explained to most new gym members. Measuring your heart rate is a fool proof way of monitoring the status on your fitness.
Although it’s ideal to measure your resting heart rate in the morning before you get out of bed, your maximum heart rate that you reach during any cardio exercise will tell you more about your intensity. Your resting and max heart rate will go down as you get fitter.
All instructors on the floor of any gym in the world will tell you that your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. This gives you a figure that you should try and aim to achieve 75% of when exercising with high intensity that will guarantee an improvement in your VO2 Max.
It takes a bit of practice to get used to finding your pulse but once you got it then you can use it whenever you like. Simply use a timer, wrist watch or anything you have that counts the time and find your pulse. The two best spots are the side of your neck (ceratoid artery) or in the inside of your wrist (radial artery). Whichever is easier for you to hold and count works fine. Then place your middle and index fingers together over your pulse.
Once you have established a steady pulse start counting how many beats you have per 60 seconds. Another way to get your beat count is to time it for 10 seconds then multiply your count times 6 to give you your beast per 60 seconds. So if you count 8 beats in 10 seconds that would give you 48 beats per minute.
After you have successfully counted your heart rate you may be wondering where you stack up. Well the rule of thumb for individuals in their 20’s is 100 to 170 with a max of 200, 30’s is 95 to 162 with a max of 190, 40’s is 90 to 153 with a max of 180, and 50’s is 85 to 145 with a max of 170. The better shape you are in the lower your heart rate will be in your age range.
If you want to take some of the guess workout of measuring your heart rate there are several gadgets on the market such as watches and chest strap monitors that will do it all for you.
Just remember for an activity to be considered cardiovascular exercise it must be continuous for 20 minutes. So to keep your heart healthy and pumping longer you should get in your 20 minutes or more at least 3 times a week.