Monitor Your Heart Rate to Make the Most of a Workout

Measuring your heart rate during a workout is a great way to know if you are challenging yourself at the right intensity.Do you measure your heart rate when you exercise? I think you should.

Your heart rate gives you valuable feedback to know when exercise is too challenging or not challenging enough. When you set out to do a “cardio” workout, you are trying to exercise your heart at an appropriate intensity to make it stronger and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

How do you measure your heart rate? Most cardio machines measure your heart rate via metal handles. My experience is that if your heart rate shows up on the machine and remains steady, then the readout is usually accurate. If your machine has trouble displaying your heartrate, or you will be exercising without a machine, you can get a heart rate monitor for your wrist or chest which will display on a compatible watch. Smartphones have great apps and accessories to measure workout intensity, too.

What’s my target heart rate? Well, how old are you? The maximum rate your heart beats can be calculated as 220 minus your age in years. For example, the max heart rate of a 40-year-old is 220-40 or 180 beats/min.Those new to exercise should target a heartrate equal to 60-70 percent of their maximum. For the 40-year-old this is 108-126 bpm. More experienced exercisers can target 75-85 percent of their maximum, now 135-153 bpm for the 40-year-old. If the 40-year-old experienced person sees a heart rate of 110, they can probably increase their workout intensity. If they see a heart rate of 165, they can slow down. Either way, the heart rate information helps.

Give it a try! at if you have any questions.