On Your Mark

19 September, 2012

Don't stop to check your pulse; your heart rate should be assessed while you are actively working out. Stopping to check your pulse may yield misleading numbers, especially if you are fit, because a fit heart recovers more quickly after exertion compared to an unfit one. For the most accurate numbers, use a heart rate monitor during your workout.

To increase fitness, work out at 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, also known as your target heart rate, for about 20 minutes several times per week. If you're not sure what your target heart rate should be, ask your doctor which level of exertion is safe for you. Your age, gender, and other health factors may influence what is an appropriate target heart rate for you. Reach your target heart rate by engaging in stamina-building exercises, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming. These kinds of exercises will make your heart and lungs stronger.

SOURCES: Post-exercise palpation of pulse rates: its applicability to habitual exercisers. Devan, A. E., Lacy, B. K., Cortez-Cooper, M. Y., Tanaka, H., Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 2005 Jun;15(3):177-181.

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