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Heart rate monitor showed 180. Normal?

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Im a 43 year old male of Indian origin. Im abt 5'9" tall and weigh abt 170 pounds. I play squash abt 4 times a week and do the stair stepper 3 times a week. I also lift some weights for resistance training.
When I do my cardio on the stair stepper, I usually do it for 40 mins. Recently I got a heart monitor to try to monitor my hear rate during exercise. I have noticed that the XXXXXXX heart rate the monitor showed was abt 180.
My question is this:
The target heart rate has the following formula:
220-43 (my age) = 177
My target heart rate should be 60-80% of 177.
So the target heart rate range is between 106 and 142.
This does not make sense to me. Because when my HR is at the top end of the range at 142, I feel that I'm not exercising much. I don't burn much calories and have hardly broken a sweat. It also means that the intensity of exercise is very low.
Please advise what I should be doing.
Posted Mon, 17 Jun 2013 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Sukhvinder Singh 2 hours later
Dear Sir
1. Your age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR) by one of the accepted formulas is 177 beats per minute. By this we mean that at maximum level of exercise (~10 METs at your age), your heart should be near about this figure.
2. Now the target heart rate depend upon the level of exercise you are doing, how healthy your heart is and since how long you are doing the same exercise.
I agree with you that as per American heart association, you target heart rate is ~133 beats per minute. But mind it, it is for the level of exercise which will provide maximum cardiovascular benefit and beyond this level there are not much additional cardiac benefits. As per other criteria, this goal will be achieved by brisk walking at a speed of ~7km/hr for 45 minutes a day. So no surprise, if you do not feel that you are not exercising intensely at this level of exercise.
But if your aim is to lose weight/ muscle building/athletic training, then your target heart rate will be definitely higher (upto 100%), or if you increase your intensity of exercise your heart rate will increase. If you are doing same level of exercise , the heart rate will tend to go down over a period of time on same level of exercise. Moreover how much you sweat and how much your heart rate increases with exercise is an individual phenomenon (varies from person to person) and depends upon a number of factor.
3. So conceptually the difference between your thinking and the medical concept is that you are doing more exercise and keeping a target heart rate meant for lower level of exercise.
4. Now for a healthy heart you need to do only brisk walking for 45 minutes a day at a speed of ~7 km/hr. You can do more intense exercise under supervision of a trainer and definitely your heart rate will be higher while doing more intense exercise.
Feel free to discuss further or for any clarifications.
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