Understanding Your Heart Rate

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How can I tell if I am working out at the right intensity?

Understanding Your Heart Rate

The standard formula for determining your maximum heart rate during aerobic exercise is to subtract your age from 220. However, these formulas are decades old, don't take into account individual fitness levels. A more modern approach, and one that is recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is to use the Borg Rating for Perceived Exertion (RPE). The RPE is measured from 6-20. A 9 on the RPE scale would be extremely light exercise, like a healthy adult going for a stroll. An easy way to monitor yourself using the RPE during exercise is the talk test. A person who is working out at a light intensity should be able to talk easily. It should be a little more difficult to talk while working out at a moderate intensity, and if it is very difficult to speak, that means you are working out at a very high intensity. Experts recommend spending most of your cardio workout at a medium intensity, RPE of 12-14, where you can talk while working out. You can find more information on RPE from your doctor, personal trainer, or on the Centers for Disease Control website www.cdc.gov.



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