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Aerobics/Max Heart Rate

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Question
I have had a successful return to general fitness over the last five months.  It mostly involves the elliptical trainer and I work out to sports events - football, baseball, soccer whatever and I work out to fusion jazz like Mike Stern, Marcus Miller.  I'll typically burn between 700 and 1500 calories per the machine over two to three hours of sporting event.  I throw in some weight training at half time.  My question has to do with heart rate.  I am 51, 6' 2", 227lbs.  Most of the time in workouts my heart rate is between 120 and 160 beats per minute.  But once in a while the music will hit an intense section and I'll just be off to the races and the heart has gone all the way up to 220 or more.  When I notice it's that high I typically back off so I don't die or pass out or who knows.  :-)  My question is are 1 to 2 minute bursts where I crank the ticker up these higher rates dangerous?  My blood pressure is now 120/80 thanks to all the exercise.  Lipid levels all within normal range.  Thank you.

Answer
Michael,

Congratulations on getting back into fitness and lowering your blood pressure and Lipid values. As far as your heart rate is concerned, you should not be in the 200bpm rage at any point. Your predicted max HR is 169bpm and getting your HR up into the 170-200 range could be unsafe. I would recommend that you speak with a physician about getting a max treadmill exercise test so you have get your true max HR and then let and exercise professional calculate a Target Heart Rate for you. You can also judge your intensity by how hard it is for you. On a 1-10 scale you should be 5-6 at the most.

Another question would be what are you using to determine your heart rate when working out? If you are going by the sensors on the elliptical that too can give you an inaccurate reading. If you are not already using one look into a heart rate monitor such as a polar monitor with a chest telemetry strap. These are more accurate than using the sensors alone.

Hope everything works out well.

Brandon

Aerobics

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Brandon Briggs, MS

Expertise

I can answer questions about cardiovascular fitness, pulmonary & cardiac rehab, weight training, and corrective exercise.

Experience

I have a Master's in Exercise Science and I am a certified Exercise Specialist. I have been working in Cardiac Rehab for 3 yrs and also doing personal training for 3.

Education/Credentials
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, ACSM Certified Exercise Specialist

Awards and Honors
Graduated from CalU with a MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion with 4.0

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