Did you know 90% of heart disease is preventable through better diet, exercise, and quitting smoking? The benefits of exercise for your cardiovascular — and overall — health are almost limitless, but you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.
A great way to optimize the heart health benefits of exercise is to monitor your heart rate so you stay within healthy and effective ranges. To explain this further, integrative cardiologist Dr. Yogesh Paliwal and the team here at Indus Cardiology present the following information.
Getting your heart rate up
There are many reasons why the American Heart Association recommends you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. First, your heart is a muscle and, as such, can benefit from conditioning and strengthening like any other muscle in your body.
Second, exercise promotes good vascular health by keeping your blood circulating smoothly through your body to prevent blockages (atherosclerosis), one of the primary risk factors for heart disease.
Third, exercise helps burn energy, which can prevent fats (cholesterol) and sugars from building up in your bloodstream.
Quite simply, getting your heart rate up through exercise is incredibly important in preventing potentially life-threatening heart disease.
Reaching your target heart rate
We’ve discussed that you need to get your heart rate up, but what exactly do we mean? When you’re at rest, your heart rate should fall between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The fitter you are, the lower this number is; your heart is in great shape and doesn't need to work as hard.
When you exercise, we want you to hit an ideal heart rate, about 50%-85% of your maximum heart rate. A good rule of thumb for your maximum heart rate is subtracting your age from 220.
So, if you’re 50 years old, your maximum heart rate is 170. From there, your target heart rate when you exercise should be 85-145 beats per minute.
For a great chart for different age groups, click here.
The benefits of hitting your target heart rate are twofold:
- You’re pushing hard enough to reap the benefits of exercise
- You’re not pushing too hard
In other words, your target heart rate is the ideal zone to strengthen and condition your cardiovascular system without overtaxing it and putting yourself in danger.
While you can figure much of this out on your own, we suggest you see us for a cardiology consultation first. During this important visit, we can get a good baseline of your heart health to create ideal target heart rates specific to your unique circumstances.
Simplify the math
Once we sit down and figure out an ideal exercise regimen to boost your heart health, you can take all the guesswork out of monitoring your heart rate while you exercise with a wearable device, such as a watch or chest strap.
These handy devices track your heart rate and other important aspects of your exercise to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.
For expert guidance in improving your heart health through exercise, please contact one of our offices in Pomona, Montclair, or West Covina, California, to schedule an appointment.