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Appropriate Exercise Heart Rate for an Average Individual

author image Maria Parepalo
Maria Parepalo began writing professionally in 2006 and has published in medical journals as well as online. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in laboratory sciences from Helsinki Polytechnic in 2002 and is currently working on her doctoral degree in cell and molecular biology.
Appropriate Exercise Heart Rate for an Average Individual
The appropriate heart rate you should have during an exercise depends on your expectations from your workout. Photo Credit Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

When you exercise, your heart rate rises due to the heavier work load as well as the increased energy and oxygen consumption by your muscles. Your exercise heart rate is affected by your exercise intensity as well as your physique and age. The typical exercise heart rate should be between 50 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Estimate Your Maximum Heart Rate.

You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, a typical 30-year-old's maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute, or bpm, while a typical 60-year-old's maximum heart rate is 160 bpm. Consult your physical to gain a better estimate of your maximum heart rate.

Heart Rate During Low Intensity Exercise

If your exercise expectations are to relieve stress, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol as well as burn fat, you can obtain these goals by doing a low-intensity exercise. During a low-intensity exercise, such as walking or gardening, your heart rate should be between 50 to 60 percent of its maximum. When exercising with this intensity, most of the energy your body uses comes from burning stored fat.

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Heart Rate During Moderate-Intensity Exercise

To burn fat and improve your cardiovascular health, do a moderate- to moderate high-intensity exercise. When you exercise with a moderate intensity -- jogging or uphill walking, for example -- your heart rate is between 60 to 70 percent of its maximum. As with low-intensity exercise, moderate-intensity activity helps you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. However, you'll burning more calories and fat than you would during a low-intensity exercise. In moderate high-intensity exercises -- such as vigorous running, aerobics, dancing and skiing -- your heart rate is between 70 to 80 percent of the maximum. As your intensity and heart rate increases, so does your breathing rate and energy consumption. You use considerably more energy than with a lower-intensity exercise. However, the energy will come from burning fat and sugars at an equal rate.

Heart Rate During a High-Intensity Exercise

High-intensity exercises include sprint running, uphill running, uphill skiing or strenuous kickboxing. This type of exercising will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system and lactic acid tolerance. Your heart rate is between 80 and 90 percent of its maximum. During a high-intensity exercise you produce energy by anaerobic respiration, using sugars rather than fats. This leads to lactic acid accumulation and muscle fatigue, so you cannot continue exercising with this intensity for a long duration.

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