Should a senior citizen, in average health, exercise for a duration of time or to increase heart rate?
People have used their heart rate to measure how hard they have been working out for a long time. Most cardio equipment you see in our gym is equipped with heart rate monitors. It exists for this purpose. Our heart rate can now be measured using wearable devices, such as a Fitbit. But what do these measurements mean? And how intense should we exercise?
In the 1970s, many in the health and wellness field began measuring a person’s maximum heart rate using simple benchmark measurements. It was as simple as subtracting the person’s age from the number 220. For example, in your 60s, you were said to have a maximal heart rate of 160. (220-60). From this number, you were assigned optimal training zones. This method is still used by the American Heart Association as a general guideline for training zones, recommending seniors train between 50% and 85% of their maximal heart rate.
Using this formula, the ideal cardiovascular exercise zones are:
• 55 Y/O, 83-140 beats per minute
• 60 Y/O, 80-136 beats per minute
• 65 Y/O, 78-132 beats per minute
• 70 Y/O, 75-128 beats per minute
Using this guideline, one quickly learns that a heart rate on the lower side of the scale means you’re doing moderate work, and a higher heart rate means you’re working hard.