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BODY MEASUREMENTS

HEART RATE

 

Heart Rate Measurement

Heart rate measurements give a good guide to cardiac fitness. It is taken in three parts:

  1. Resting Heart Rate - your normal rate
  2. Stress Heart Rate - taken immediately after or during exercise
  3. Recovery Heart Rate - taken at intervals following completion of exercise.

How to Take the Test

  1. Place two fingers on either your wrist (radial artery), or neck (carotid artery).
  2. Avoiding pressing too hard, count the number of beats for a minute.
  3. Alternatively, if you have one a heart rate monitor will give you an accurate reading.
  4. Look in the heart rate chart, to give yourself a guideline.

 

Resting Heart Rate

Resting Heart Rate is taken when you are fully at rest. The best time is when you first awaken in the morning.

Alternatively, if taken during the day, ensure you have been seated or lying down for at least 15 minutes prior to taking the test.

Your pulse should be taken for 60 seconds. Or, take it for 30 seconds and double the number.

Take the recordings over three days to find an average, this will give you a more accurate reading.

 

Exercise Heart Rate

  1. Exercise heart rate should be taken for 6 seconds so you may return to your activity.
  2. Multiply your total by 10.

 

Formula to Determine Maximum Heart Rate

BASE RATE

220

Subtract Your Current Age

[For Example] 50

MAXIMUM HEART RATE

170

X Training Intensity [e.g 0.70]

119

  This is your Max Target Exercise Heart Rate

NB: It is dangerous to exceed this rate without supervision.

 

Exercise or Training Target Heart Rate Range

Your training heart rate zone determes the intensity level at which you should exercise. As a general rule, you should exercise at an intensity between 50% - 85% of your heart rate reserve.

Your individual level of fitness will ultimately determine where you fall within this range.

Fitness Level Training Heart Rate Range
Beginner or low fitness 50% - 60%
Average fitness 60% - 70%
High fitness 75% - 85%

 

Use the following table as a guide for determining your intensity level:

Age Grade Max Aerobic Fat Burning
20 Begin 200 140 170 120 140
  Adv 185 128 157 111 129
25 Begin 195 137 166 117 137
  Adv 198 138 168 119 138
30 Begin 190 132 162 114 133
  Adv 195 137 166 117 137
35 Begin 185 130 157 111 130
  Adv 190 135 164 116 135
40 Begin 180 126 153 108 126
  Adv 190 133 162 114 133
45 Begin 175 122 149 105 122
  Adv 188 131 159 113 131
50 Begin 170 119 145 102 119
  Adv 185 130 157 111 130
55 Begin 165 115 140 99 115
  Adv 183 128 155 110 128
60 Begin 160 112 136 96 112
  Adv 180 126 153 108 126
65 Begin 155 109 132 93 109
  Adv 178 124 151 107 124
70 Begin 150 105 128 90 105
  Adv 175 122 149 105 122
75 Begin 145 102 123 87 102
  Adv 173 121 147 104 121
80 Begin 140 98 119 84 98
  Adv 170 119 145 102 119
85 Begin 135 95 115 81 95
  Adv 168 117 142 101 117
90 Begin 130 91 111 78 91
  Adv 165 115 140 99 115



The Karvonen Formula Example

Maximum Heart Rate

= 220 - Age

Training Heart Rate

= Max Heart Rate - Rest. Heart Rate x Intensity + Rest. Heart Rate


Case Example:

  • Helen is 42 yrs old:
  • Resting Heart Rate of 75
  • She is somewhat fit, having walked 30-40 minutes, 3 times a week, and light weight exercises. She is now starting out on her antiaging fitness program.
  • We will set her min. intensity level at 60% and max. at 65%
  • Now let's calculate Helens minimum and maximum training heart rates. She can use these to determine if the intensity of her exercise is appropriate.
  • Training heart rate zone will be 137-142 beats per minute:


Minimum Training Heart Rate:
220 - 42 (Age) = 178
178 - 75 (Rest. HR) = 103
103 x .60 (Min. Intensity) + 75 (Rest. HR) = 137 Beats/Minute


Maximum Training Heart Rate:
220 - 42 (Age) = 178
178 - 75 (Rest. HR) = 103
103 x .65 (Max. Intensity) + 75 (Rest. HR) = 142 Beats/Minute

Periodically, take your pulse during your exercise session to gauge your intensity level.

The easiest location for taking a pulse is on the side of your neck, the carotid pulse. Be sure not to press too hard on the carotid artery or you’ll get an inaccurate reading.

Count the number of beats, always beginning with zero, for 6 seconds; then multiply by 10 to get the number of times your heart is beating per minute.

If your pulse is within your training heart rate zone, you’re right on track. If not, adjust your exercise workload until you get into your zone.


Ratings of Perceived Exertion [Borg Scale]

Another method that can be used in conjunction with taking your pulse is the Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE). This is a subjective method that allows you to rate how hard you feel you’re working.

 

The Talk-Test Method

Like the RPE, the talk test method is subjective and should be used in conjunction with taking a pulse. The talk test is quite useful in determining your comfort zone of aerobic intensity, especially if you are just beginning an exercise program. If you are able to talk during your workout without a great deal of strain, you’re most likely in your comfort zone.

Work at an intensity that allows you to breathe comfortably and rhythmically throughout all phases of your workout. This will ensure a safe and comfortable level of exercise.

I find this very useful when I am out walking the hills. I push my walking effort until I can feel my heart and breathing rate are just on the edge between comfortable and puffing. After having measured my heart rate with different workout types, I now know with reasonable accuracy what my heart rate is. This is particularly useful for me as I have an irregular heart beat that is prone to moments of flutter which makes taking my pulse somewhat difficult at times.


IMPORTANT: Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you have a medical condition.

 

More Body Measures and Fitness Tests

 

Measures

Fitness Tests

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