Wednesday, March 31, 2010


It's the end of March. March Madness is coming to an end, the temps are starting to warm up, and people are turning their workout routines up a notch. A good way to measure the intensity of your workout is through your heart rate and achieving your maximum.

Your heart rate is an ideal measure to determine exercise intesity because it has a direct relationship with aerobic work. The harder the workout the more oxygen is needed. As a result the heart must pump more to meet the need for oxygenated blood. The relationship allows intensity to be measured indirectly by tracking heart rate response to exercise. The Hear Rate Training Zone is the heart rate range that a person should work to mazimize their workout.

Now how does one find this range...

Here are a few methods:
1) Classic Formula - Subtract the person's age from 220 and use a standard deviation of 10-12 beats per minute. The problem with this calcualtion is that it assumes that everyone at that age has the same maximum heart rate and it is not precise.
2)Multifactor General Population Formula - This formula takes into consideration your age, obesity, fitness, and smoking status.
Max HR = 203.9 - (.812 x age) + (.276 x RHR) - (0.084 x kg) - (4.5 x smoking code)

Max HR = 204.8 - (.718 x age) + (.162 x RHR) - (0.105 x kg) - (6.2 x smoking code)

Age- years
RHR - Resting Heart Rate
KG - Pounds divided by 2.2
Smoking Code = (1) for smoker (0) non smoker

If you are obese or up there in age the calculation is much simplier

Max HR = 200 - (0.5 x age)

Max HR = 208 - (0.7 x age)

3) Talk Test- Basically when it boils down to is that your exercise intensity is revved up to a point where you cannot maintain a conversation . At this point the exceriser is at the ventilatory threshold. (this was me yesterday on the stair machine...that thing is a killer)

Click here for a selection of good heart rate monitors.

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