Posted by: Angela | 2009-03-06

Heart Rate

Hi there,

I am a 27 year old female. I weigh 88kg' s. I recently bought an exercise bike for weight loss which has a Heart Rate Monitor built into the handle bars.
My question is: At what rate should I try and keep my Heart beat in order to ensure that I am exercising hard enough to ensure weight loss. And for how long?

Thank You.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Angela

There is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the use of heart rate when it comes to training for fat loss. It is true that at lower exercise intensities, fat is used preferentially instead of carbohydrates, and so in theory, the rate of fat loss is greater at lower intensity. This has led to the idea that training at certain heart rates are better for fat loss. While there is some truth in this, it’s not necessarily the best way – you see, the important thing for fat loss is not so much how much of the energy comes from fat, but rather the total energy used during exercise. This is the way to optimize total fat loss, and this occurs at a slightly higher heart rate. So, basically, the range for fat burning will be somewhere between 70 and 85% of maximum. Anything higher than this probably does burn more fat, but the problem is that it’s really hard to exercise for long at this high intensity, so the total fat used is lower. Therefore, the aim should be to exercise for 40 to 50 minutes, at a moderate intensity – it just so happens that for most people this is between 70 and 80%. If you find that it’s really difficult to lift your heart rate, or that your heart rate is too high, but that you can easily keep going for this long, then don’t worry about heart rate anymore – it’s not like you burn less fat. The main thing is to do a session that you can complete feeling tired, but not exhausted, having lasted for 40 minutes or more.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: BruSym | 2009-03-19

I have read the responses about ur heart rate and exercise and Tes" s response says Angela' s heart rate is 174 for her age(27) is there a chart available for all ages?

Reply to BruSym
Posted by: Boyscout | 2009-03-12

I agree with Tes, my HRM is always 2 bpm higher than the gym machine ones. Best would be to buy a polar or garmin etc hrm if you can afford to...very handy pieces of equipment! :-)

Reply to Boyscout
Posted by: Tes | 2009-03-10

For your age, your max heart rate is 174 and for weight-loss you should aim for about 80% of max threshold, being about 145 - 155 - meaning you must aim to keep your heart rate in this range for at least 20min. Please remember that the heart rate monitors on the bikes are not accurate, some are higher some are lower. So when you' re red in the face and sweating like a raincloud, then you know you' re on the right track!
Good luck!

Reply to Tes

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