Healthy Heart Rate And Running: Everything You Need To Know
Healthy Heart Rate And Running
Running is definitely an activity that will increase your heart rate and we all know the benefits of running and that it’s good for your cardiovascular health. But there’s more to a healthy heart rate when you’re running than just raising your heart rate. Your heart rate when you’re running is a good indicator of how much exertion you are putting on your heart. Too low, and you may not be putting in enough effort. Too high and you run the risk of putting yourself at risk.
To make sure your heart stays healthy, you need to understand what a healthy heart rate is for you. Before you take out your neutral running shoes, here’s what you need to know to maintain a healthy heart rate when running.
Know Your Resting Heart Rate
It’s one thing to make note of your heart rate when you’re running, but what can you compare it to? It’s important to know your heart rate when you’re resting. Don’t rely on this number to be a permanent one. Your resting heart rate can change with age, health, stress levels and even the last thing you ate or drank. Most heart specialists will tell you that a healthy resting heart rate should be between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Make Note Of Your Active Heart Rate
Just like your resting heart rate, your active heart rate will also vary depending on a number of factors. These include;
- Your current activity levels
- Your overall fitness
- Any medical conditions
- Your age
You need to know both your resting and active heart rate levels to ensure you keep your heart rate at a safe level. This is especially important if you have a medical condition.
Heart Rates And Endurance Runners
It stands to reason that endurance runners are quite healthy and this includes having a healthy heart. While a resting heart rate for the average person may be between 60 to 100 beats per minute, endurance runners’ resting heart rate may be as low as 40 beats per minute. The main reason for this is cardiac efficiency. The heart of an endurance runner is so efficient, it has less work to do. It can pump blood more effectively with fewer beats. As odd as this may seem, a lower resting heart rate usually indicates you have a higher level of cardiovascular fitness.
Keep An Eye Out For Abnormalities
If your heart rate spikes while you are resting, it could be a sign of tachycardia. Tachycardia is a term used to describe an elevated resting heart rate. In most cases, there is no cause for concern, but if it presents with any frequency, you should see your doctor. In most minor cases, an elevated resting heart rate is due to dehydration, too much caffeine or you could be coming down with an infection.
By the same token, an unexplained lower resting heart rate can also be cause for concern as it could be a sign of an underactive thyroid. Again, if it’s a one-off occurrence, it usually isn’t anything to worry about but if it repeats often enough, get yourself checked out by a medical professional.
Whether your resting heart rate is suddenly higher or lower, you don’t need to hit any panic buttons just yet. The number isn’t a big deal if you feel fine. Check your heart rate again a little later and if you really are worried, a visit to your doctor will put your mind at ease.
Use A Fitness Tracker
The best way to spot any notable differences with your heart rate, both resting and active is by recording your heart rate with a fitness tracker. The best fitness trackers are the ones that you wear as they will record all the information as you rest or run. Don’t become too obsessed with the data though. your fitness tracker should only be used as a guide to your cardiovascular health and fitness. If you are concerned, err on the side of caution and see your doctor. You may also use some of the apps for running.
When Is The Best Time To Track Your Resting Heart Rate?
Generally speaking, the best time to track your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning. You’re already in a resting position and you haven’t gotten out of bed yet and started running around. If your heart rate is unusually high, you may have overdone the activities the day before and this will be your heart’s way of telling you it needs a little more time to recover. That doesn’t mean you can spend the day in bed. Perhaps just avoid anything strenuous and go for a short walk.
Measure The Intensity Of Your Running
The best way to measure the intensity of your running is by calculating your maximum heart rate. This is as simple as subtracting your age from 220. When you know your maximum heart rate, you can calculate your optimal heart rate zone. This is the level you can push your heart rate to without overworking it.
The American Heart Association recommends a target heart rate of 50 – 70% of your maximum heart rate for moderate exercise and 70 – 85% for vigorous exercise. If you’ve just started exercising you should aim to keep your heart rate at the lower end of your target heart zone and gradually increase the intensity. There are a number of methods you can use to calculate your maximum heart rate so find the one that’s easiest for you.
Make An Appointment For A Full Medical Examination
Before you start any type of strenuous exercise, you should make an appointment for a full medical examination. Your doctor will check all of the usual vital signs such as checking your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate. Other tests may also be taken such as blood and urine tests. All of these are essential to ensure you don’t have any underlying medical conditions that may put you at risk if you overexert yourself and put a strain on your heart.
Get yourself checked out and take your running and other exercise activities at a slow, steady pace.