There are several ways to measure how hard you are exercising.
Take the number of pulses in 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to get the beats per minute.
One way to know how your heart is reacting to exercise is to check your heart rate.
Your heart rate lets you know how fast your heart is beating.
You may also need to check your heart rate if you take medicine to regulate your heartbeat, or if you have a pacemaker.
Check your heart rate by taking your pulse rate (radial or carotid).
The target heart rate is a guideline that can help you stay in a safe exercise heart rate range. This will help improve your fitness.
The target heart rate is based on 60 to 80 percent of a maximum heart rate.
If you are just starting an exercise routine, you may want to start out at 60 to 70 percent of your target heart rate. As you become more fit, you may want to progress to 70 to 80 percent of your target heart rate.
As your age increases, your target heart rate will decrease.
In general, if you are staying in the hospital (inpatient) and you have angina, had a heart attack, or have heart failure, your target heart rate is the resting heart rate plus 25 beats per minute as the maximum heart rate.
If you had open heart surgery or valve surgery, your target heart rate is the resting heart rate plus 35 beats per minute as the maximum heart rate.
Certain heart medicines (such as beta blockers) may decrease your heart rate at rest and with exercise. It is important to remember that your heart rate will go up with exercise, but may not increase as much as it did before starting your medicines. This does not prevent you from reaching a new improved level of fitness and conditioning.
Ask your health care provider if your medicines will affect your heart rate.
If you have heart failure, avoid exercises like painting, snow shoveling, carrying heavy weights, or pushing a car out of deep snow.
A MET, metabolic energy equivalent, is a unit of measurement (like a cup or an inch) that measures how much effort an activity requires from you. For example, lying down takes one MET; sitting and lifting both arms, two METS; walking on a flat surface, three METS; or climbing stairs, six METS. Factors that influence how much energy you're spending include:
If you have had a heart attack or surgery, your activities may be at the two to three MET level at the time of your hospital discharge. Follow your doctor's instructions about activities when you return home. MET chart
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
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