Thursday, September 22, 2011

New target heart rate guidelines

Do you measure your heart rate while running or exercising? My heart rate is one way I can track my training, but it's not a must have when I'm casually exercising. Before today, women were held to the same heart rate standard as men are. We can say that's how it is for women in general - not a whole lot of studies are done specifically for women so we use data based on men's results. Now it seems as though we have a new standard for target heart rates for women based on this article from USA Today.

The old formula was subtract your age from 220. This means as a 30 yr old my target heart rate based on this formula is 190. It's the target I aimed for when training for the half marathon, and it admittedly was pushing me a little too hard sometimes. I had a hard time maintaining that for an extended period of time.

The new formula is take 88% of your age and subtract it from 206. This makes my new target heart rate 180. 10 beats per minute isn't a huge difference, but it does add up. I can deal with 180 and still feel like I'm getting a good work out.

Will this change the way you train? Of course I assume you're a woman when I ask that. Men, keep using the old formula. I think this will be in more use once heart rate monitors begin using the new standard, but you can program it to watch out for a user-determined range.

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