Posted by: Kevin | 2009/10/01

Target Heart Rate

Hi, I am 53 years old - weight 90kg' s - try to lead a healthy lifestyle - Go to gym 3 times a week. i have always been confused with Target Heart Rates - I train with a Polar Watch and am wanting to progress to one of the spinning classes at my gym - Due to my age and the fact that I have controlled High Blood Pressure on Medication would you be able to guide me with some advice regarding Heart Rates and Spinning. When I do cardio excercises at Gym my average heartrate during a hard session is around 140bpm - if you need anything else please let me know - Thanks, Kevin

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Our expert says:
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Hi Kevin

Difficult to come up a universal guideline given that people vary so much with respect to their heart rates during exercise. One person can comfortably ride along at 180bpm, another will be at 140bpm, but neither is too high or too low.

So the best thing is to look at it individually, to compare your heart rate to your previous values. That means that 140bpm is a benchmark, and you can pretty much judge everything in relation to that. If you do a harder day (which is OK), then it will obviously be higher, but what you need to look out for are spikes or jumps in the heart rate, where it's suddenly a lot higher. However, feeling light-headed and short of breath is likely to precede these changes anyway, so it's more important to pay close attention to symptoms than to focus entirely on the number on the watch.

What you're aiming for is a reduction in the heart rate at a given intensity, by the way. In otherwords, if you spin at the same level, your heart rate should, over the course of 3 months, come down. That would be a sign of improved fitness.

Good luck

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