Medical experts and exercise professionals use a universal calculation to determine an individual's maximum heart rate. This formula is based on your age, and using it to determine your maximum heart rate for any type of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking or running on a treadmill, riding a bicycle or training on an elliptical machine, can help you keep track of how hard your heart is working during your workouts.
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The Maximum Heart Rate Calculation
To keep tabs on your heart rate during aerobic exercise so that you can pace yourself at an appropriate level, you will first need to know your maximum heart rate -- or MHR. Your MHR is an approximation of your heart's maximum exertion level, the number of times in 1 minute your heart can beat while still performing its duty of moving blood throughout your body efficiently. The universal MHR calculation is simple, requiring only that you subtract your age in years from the number 220. Therefore, a 70-year old man has a MHR of 150 beats per minute.
MHR: What It Means
MHR represents the maximum times your heart should beat per minute in any scenario, during exercise or otherwise. At 70 years of age, allowing your heart to beat faster than 150 beats per minute -- particularly over extended periods of time -- may potentially put your health at risk. Your predicted recommended maximum heart rate will continue to decline as you age, and this is because your cardiovascular risks increase as you age. At 70 years old, you may notice that it takes longer for your heart rate to rise during exercise and return to baseline at the end of your workout than it did 10 years ago.
Your MHR is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to exercising at a healthy target heart rate for your age. To ensure that you are not overtaxing your heart during your workouts, you must use your MHR to determine your target heart rate -- or THR--zone. This THR zone describes a range within which your exercise pulse should fall so that you may reap maximum rewards from your exercise regime. Your THR range is 50 to 85 percent of your MHR. Therefore, because you are 70 years old, you will gain maximum rewards from cardiovascular exercise on a treadmill and minimize your risk of exercise injury by exercising within a heart rate range of 75 to 128 beats per minute.
To Put It All Together
At 70 years old, exercise is an important component of your overall health. Aerobic exercise can help to keep your heart strong and ward off complications, such as heart disease. Exercise can also help you manage age-related illness, such as diabetes and hypertension, that can also increase cardiovascular risks. Whatever your personal reason to exercise on a treadmill or in any other way, using your MHR and THR rate calculations empowers you to do so safely, and in a manner that rewards you with the most benefit for your effort.