February is American Heart Month. It’s an important time to remember to treat your heart well and do everything you can to ensure that it stays healthy for the long run. This week, our Wellness column takes a closer look at heartbeats. There is a set of numbers you should keep track of and maintain, in order to help achieve optimal heart health. When your heartbeat is in the target range it should be, it becomes easier to achieve fitness through exercise and physical activity. Of course your family physician can help provide you with your personal numbers and devise a plan with you to get to your cardio health goals.
Heart Rates At Rest — Start by measuring your resting heart rate. The best time to do this is first thing in the morning, before you grab that cup of coffee and start moving around. For most adults, a good resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The lower your number, the better the condition your heart is in.
Heart Rates At Work — When it’s time to exercise or exert a lot of physical energy, keep these numbers in mind. Your average maximum heart rate should be around 220 minus your age. In moderate activities your heart rate should be around 50-70% of maximum. When you’re in the midst of vigorous physical activity, your heart rate should be 70-85% of maximum.
Activity trackers make it easy to monitor your heart rate. To check the old-fashioned way, use the tips of your 2 fingers to press lightly on the artery on the inside of your other wrist, near the thumb side. Count your pulse for 30 seconds, multiply by 2 and you have your beats per minute. This article by the American Heart Association can give you even more information about your target heart rates.