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Heart Rate Zones

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As ever: if the question/request can be answered briefly, we’ll do it here in our Q&A Thursday edition. If not, we’ll make a main feature of it shortly afterwards!

So, no question/request too big or small 😎

❝I think the heart may be an issue for lots of us. I know it is for me due to AFib. When I’m in my training zone like on a treadmill, I’m usually around 110 to 120. But there are occasionally times when I’m at 140 or 150. How dangerous is that? If I use that formula of 180 minus age, thats 103. I get nothing from that. My resting heart rate is in the 50 to 60 range.❞

First, for safety, let us draw attention to our medical disclaimer at the bottom of each email, and also specifically note that we are not cardiologists here, let alone your cardiologist. There’s a lot we can’t know or advise about. However, as general rules of thumb:

For people without serious health conditions, it is considered good and healthful for one’s heart rate to double (from its resting rate) during exercise, with even more than 2.5x resting rate being nothing more than a good cardio workout.

As for “180 minus age” (presuming you mean: to calculate the safe maximum heart rate), more common (and used by the American Heart Association) is 220 minus age. In your case, that’d give 143.

Having atrial fibrillation may change this however, and we can’t offer medical advice.

We can point to this AHA “AFib Resources For Patients and Professionals”, including this handy FAQ sheet which says:

“Am I able to exercise?” / “Yes, as long as you’re cleared by your doctor, you can perform normal activities of daily living that you can tolerate” (accompanied by a little graphic of a person using an exercise bike)

You personally probably know this already, of course, but it’s quite an extensive collection of resources, so we thought we’d include it.

It’s certainly a good idea for everyone to be aware of their healthy heart rate ranges, regardless of having a known heart condition or not, though!

American Heart Association: Target Heart Rates Chart

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