Your heart needs exercise to keep it fit and healthy, like any other muscle around your body. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
To keep your heart healthy, it is recommended you do 150 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise a week. You can measure the intensity of your exercise by using your heart rate. Your heart rate should be at 50–70% of your approximate maximum heart rate to exercise at a low to moderate intensity. Your approximate maximum heart rate can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220.
So if you are 40 years old:
- your approximate maximum heart rate will be 220 – 40 = 180 beats per minute
- your heart rate should be at 50–70% of your approximate maximum heart rate
- 180 X 50% = 90 beats per minute
- 180 X 70% = 126 beats per minute
- your target heart rate for low to moderate intensity exercise should be between 90–126 beats per minute.
You can also refer to the table below for an estimate of your target heart rate based on your age.
Image credit: Heart Foundation, NZ(external link)
If you have a heart condition or are on any heart medicines, eg, medicines to slow your heart rate such as beta-blockers, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise regime.