Maximum heart rate is the maximum number of beats made by your heart in 1 minute of effort. When walking quickly, you will be in an endurance zone, with a heart rate of between 60% and 75% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). Knowing your rate means listening to your body. This is the procedure.
EVALUATING YOUR MHR: 2 methods.
- The Astrand Method
The calculation is simple with this method: 226 – your age for women, 220 – your age for men.
Let's say that you are a 35-year-old woman. Your maximum heart rate will be 191 beats per minute. In order to remain in the endurance zone, between 60 and 75% of your MHR, the number of beats of your heart during the session will be between 115 and 143 (191x60%=115, 191x75%=143).
This is a simple method, which provides a good indication, but there is a more precise and reliable method.
- The Karvonen method
This method takes account of your resting heart rate, i.e. the number of beats of your heart which must be measured when you wake in the morning.
Let's say this time that you are, once again, a 35-year-old woman, with a resting heart rate of 50 beats per minute. You should deduct your resting heart rate from your MHR. This gives 141 beats.
Using this figure, make the same calculation as before and you will get the following figures: 85 and 106 (141x60%=85, 141x75%=106). Add your resting heart rate to get your endurance zone. During effort, your heart must beat between 135 and 156 times per minute.
HOW CAN YOU WORK OUT YOUR NUMBER OF HEART BEATS PER MINUTE?
When at rest or taking a temporary break from your session, check your pulse to see if you are still in the endurance zone. To do this, place 2 fingers under your jaw, along your windpipe. An artery beats here. Just count the number of beats in 1 minute.
You can also carry a heart rate monitor, a device which lets you know how your heart is doing during effort.
WHY IS KNOWING YOUR MHR IMPORTANT?
During high-intensity effort on a fitness walking session, your body will have greater oxygen needs. This is why your heart beats faster and maximum heart rate is reached when the oxygen produced by your heart is no longer enough to supply your muscles.
The good news is that you spend most of the time in the endurance zone during fitness walking, which is why this sport is known as the ideal physical activity.
GOOD TO KNOW
MHR also depends on a number of factors, such as fatigue, diet or tobacco consumption. 2 people with an identical maximum heart rate according to the 2 suggested methods will have a different resting heart rate. In order to be absolutely sure of your MHR, we recommend that you ask your doctor to conduct an effort test!
Knowing your endurance heart rate when you walk is important, both for those who want to accelerate and for beginners. Don't forget that you should never feel breathless during your session. If you do, or if you experience any chest pains or headaches, stop and rest!