Women in their 80s need to exercise despite false ideas that seniors should be inactive. An 82-year-old women should concentrate on four types of exercise: stretching, balance exercises, strength training and endurance-building activities. It is during endurance-building activities that heart rate becomes important. Exercising at too high an intensity for your age is risky, but not getting your heart rate up high enough does not improve your endurance.
Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate -- a percentage of your estimated maximum heart rate -- is the beats-per-minute that provide effective endurance exercise. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220: 220 minus 82 equals 138 beats per minute. Your target heart rate for moderate-intensity exercise is 50 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Fifty percent of 138 equals 69 beats per minute. Seventy percent of 138 equals 96.6 beats per minute. Exercise that raises your heart rate to 69 beats per minute to 96 or 97 beats per minute gives you a good workout and keeps you within a healthy range, provided you have been cleared by your doctor for endurance exercise.
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Starting a Program
You should not just jump into an exercise program full force. Easing into exercise is especially important for older people and anyone who has been sedentary. Start exercising at 50 percent of your maximum heart rate -- 69 beats per minute -- for at least a few weeks before you increase the intensity to a higher heart-rate level. Get 20 minutes of exercise three days a week during the initial part of your new exercise program.
Regular Heart Rate Guidelines
Easing into an exercise program is a safe plan, but staying at that same intensity after you have adjusted to exercise won't be enough to challenge your body. Instead, increase your heart rate up to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Also, increase your workout frequency to between three and five days per week.
Get the Most From Your Workout
Strength training, balance training and stretching do not raise your heart rate enough for concern, but endurance activities like walking, swimming and cycling have the potential to elevate your heart rate.
Certain conditions and medications affect your heart rate. If you have high blood pressure and are taking medications, this lowers your maximum heart rate and changes guidelines. Ask your doctor to adjust your heart rate zones in this situation.