Take it easy ladies!

If you exercise regularly and you use your heart rate to monitor how intense you’re working out, get ready to have your mind blown.

Turns out the normal formula of 220 minus your age is often inaccurate when calculating a women’s maximum heart rate.  Researchers at Northwestern Medical in Chicago say that approach results in a heart rate that’s too high.  Instead, they suggest another way of calculating your maximum heart.  And you’re going to need the calculator for this: 206 minus 88 percent of a women’s age.

Let’s use me as an example.  Under the old system, my max heart rate would be 191.  Calculated with the “women’s only” formula, my new max heart rate goal is 180.  Now consider this: When training for a major race, I try to exercise within the 65%-85% of my max heart rate.  With the old math, my range is 124-162bpm.  With the new math, it’s 117-153bpm.  Obviously, this means I can now workout with less intensity to gain the results I want.  A win, except that I never stay below 153 or even 162 during my most intense workouts.  But that’s ok too.

The author of the study tells the New York Times that there’s nothing wrong with exercising at a higher level if you can maintain it.  He also points out that the study is based on averages, so that for some women the numbers will be too low, for others too high.

The people who this new way of calculating things will directly affect are those who live and die by the heart rate calculators on the treadmills.  Now instead of killing themselves to achieve that elusive heart rate number, they can workout a little less intensely, but still get the same results. 

And please remember, if you’re working out to the point of utter exhaustion, you’re doing something wrong.  You should be walking out of the gym exhilerated, not frustrated.

SOURCE: Recalibrated Formula Eases Women’s Workouts

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