Work out today at 75-85% of your age-predicted heart-rate max (HRMax; 220-age).
I am 24 so my age-predicted HRMax = 220-24 = 196.
Working at 85% of my HRMax = .85 x 196 = 167.
Yes, that is a fairly high HR to work at, but it’s not impossible. I know when I am swimming my HR gets up pretty high and fairly quickly (I am more like a drowning rat than a swimming human). So while your 85% HRMax may seem a daunting number to reach, I would encourage you to push for it. If however, 85% is just too high bring it down to 70% or 75%.
It is important to point out that this equation is not a perfect science. Your actual HRMax is likely a little different – either higher or lower. For example, my HRMax is actually 204 (I performed a test to get the actual value). So the equation provides more of an estimate than the actual value.
So how do you calculate your HR when you’re working out if you don’t have a monitor? Find your pulse on your neck (click here for instruction on how to find that). The instructions suggest counting your pulse for a full minute however, I count for 10 seconds and multiply that value by 6 to get the number of beats per minute. This allows me to keep exercising while measuring my pulse. While doing this may feel and look a little awkward it is a good way to know the intensity you are working out at.
While I am a firm believer in high-intensity exercise (as I discussed in my fat burning zone post), it is not for everyone. I would encourage you to be cautious about engaging in heart-pounding activity if you are above 65, have a current health condition that makes physical activity risky and/or have been encouraged by your doctor not to engage in such activity. Pay attention to your body and if you are concerned, consult your physician before.