maximal heart rate: is it accurate?

Happy Monday! I’m back after just the weekend I needed–some beach time, minimal house projects, and a lighter work schedule. Sorry guys, I have to post a picture from our beach time with our friends:

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via my buddy’s Instagram

It was pretty amazing. And my forehead got a little sunburned…guess I have to start wearing hats at the beach. I’m at that point where wrinkles are on the brain, barf.

Also, some beautiful meal photos:

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Flap steak, corn on the cob, and grape tomatoes/arugula/feta/fresh oregano. All veggies and herbs from the CSA box!

Panko crusted chicken with mint pesto (CSA box), sauteed broccoli rabe (CSA box), heirloom tomato (CSA box), and some charred sweet potato fries/onion rings. Moderation, peeps!

Anyway, I saw a little blurb on The New York Times about maximal heart rates. Now some of this stuff may bore you, but hang on for a second.

What is a maximal heart rate? A max heart rate is the high end of a general guideline of a target heart rate (beats per minute) depending on your age. This number is good to think about when you’re elevating your heart rate, specifically during exercise.

The formula for max heart rate that I learned while studying for my personal trainer exam is 220 – age in years. But alas, apparently this formula isn’t necessarily the best option.

The formula is considered to be a little too general, and the NYTimes article suggests testing out a more specific calculation.

My take? Check out the article if you like to monitor your heart rate. Some people love training with a heart rate monitor, making sure they’re in their proper “burn zone”. I’ve never tried it but I kind of think I’d benefit from it. I like knowing that I’m pushing myself, so I might use someone’s monitor once to see how I feel about it.

Now for those who are pregnant out there, know that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has removed the target heart rate element from their exercise guidelines. This is basically because everyone’s heart beats differently, you can’t put a number that will work for everyone.

When you’re pregnant and exercising, it’s more important to focus on your breathing and ability to talk–you should be able to hold a conversation and not feel like you’re gasping for air. Keeping yourself comfortable while exercising is key!

What do you think–is this heart rate stuff all crap or something we should all think about?

Do you guys monitor your heart rate? Am I missing out by not tracking it while I exercise?