Healthy Heart Rate

What Should A Healthy Heart Rate Be?

We could take the number of 80 beats per minute and call that a healthy heart rate. Actually, that is an average number, and unless you are a very average person, your heart rate will either be slightly above, or slightly below, that number. So if your heart rate is a few beats under or over 80 you have little to worry about.

The Normal Range - Actually, when we talk about a healthy heart rate for a human, we're talking about a range, extending from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Most of us are going to fall well within this range. When we are at rest, out heart rate is apt to be in the range from 60 to 80, and when we are active, the rate will very likely be between 80 and 100. If you fall outside of this range in either direction, it doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong. A long distance runner or biker may have a resting rate of 50, or even lower. Their heart has become so strong that it can pump the needed amount of blood at a much lower rate. And, when you exercise vigorously, your own heart rate may well sneak up above 100 beats per minute. That also, is perfectly normal. But a constant heart rate outside of the 60-100 range could be an indicator that a problem exists. In general, if you are physically very fit, and have a healthy heart, you could expect your heart rate to fall as low as 50 when resting, and rise to well over 100 during hard exercise, with no damage or ill effects. There are several definitions of heart rate you should know about beyond the terms normal heart rate or healthy heart rate. We'll cover what is meant by a resting heart rate, a target heart rate, the maximum heart rate, recovery heart rate, and then get in to what constitutes a dangerous heart rate.

Resting Heart Rate - As the name implies, your resting heart rate is your heart rate when you are at rest, in either a sitting or better yet, a prone position, and as relaxed as you can be. The resting heart rate is important in determining if you have a healthy heart rate, as it tends to be about the same whenever you are in a resting position and is therefore a good benchmark to measure the effects of activity on your heart. An interesting experiment you can try is, while in a resting position, measure your heart rate and see, if by relaxing more and more, you can get your heart rate to drop. You can take your pulse, but having a heart rate monitor is much easier and better. The activity involved in taking your own pulse adds just enough movement and stress to make your heart rate jump up a few notches. You might have a heart rate of 63 when you start, and after a few minutes see it drop down to 59 or 60. Once your heart rate has stabilized to a point about as low as it seems it is going to go, you can experiment with small movements, and see what changes in your heart rate occur. There is no set goal here, you're just trying to experience what relaxation does to your heart rate, and also see how sensitive your heart rate is to any movement you might make. With this exercise you learn just a bit more about your own body, and a bit more about what is meant by a resting heart rate.

Maximum Heart Rate And Target Heart Rate - Your maximum heart rate isn't the greatest rate your heart could possibly beat. You don't want that to happen in any event. The maximum heart rate is considered to be the fastest rate a healthy heart should go without danger to the person. If your maximum heart rate is 195, it doesn't mean that something bad will happen if you experience a heart rate of 200. It simply means that 195 is the highest you want to make your heart beat and still be within safe limits. Maximum heart rates vary with age, and in general decrease as a person gets older. These maximums are somewhat artificial, in the sense they are averages, and a very physically fit person would have a high maximum rate assigned to him or her than would be the case for the average person.

The average maximum heart rate is calculated to be 200 for a 20 year-old and then drop 1 beat per minute for every year over 20 until at age 70, where the average maximum is set at 150 beats per minute. Another way to figure your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220 and use the resulting number. The target heart rate is generally of more importance however. This is the heart rate you try to build towards when engaged in vigorous exercise. You often see people taking their pulse, or monitoring their heart rate, while running, or working on a treadmill. What they are doing is seeing how close they are to their target heart rate, and once there, they are usually trying to maintain that heart rate. The target heart rate for a healthy heart is anywhere from 50% to 85% of your calculated maximum heart rate.

For example, if you are 40 years of age, your maximum heart rate should be at around 180 beats per minute, and your target heart rate between 90 and 153 beats per minute. It is good for your heart to be exercised. Like any other muscle in your body, exercise will make it stronger. In reaching your target heart rate, your heart is getting needed exercise and beating well above the normal range, but still is perfectly safe. A 40 year old may have a resting heart rate of 62 and, while working out reach a target heart rate of 170. Each rate would be considered a healthy heart rate under the circumstances. Exercise coupled with good nutrition, which puts you at or near your idea weight, will eventually result in the range of your normal heart beat widening. At rest, your heart beat will become somewhat lower, and when exercising you may be able to increase your target range somewhat, say from 50% of maximum initially, to 65% or even more later on. (continued...)