You may or may not be surprised to learn that getting your heart to beat faster than it does when you’re resting is good for your health.
In fact, it is suggested that 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) a week can help lower your risk of disease, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
So, why does it work so well? It turns out that when you’re participating in activities that increase your heart rate, you’re actually training your body to function better; moving blood and oxygen to your working muscles more effectively. Plus, you’re burning more calories, lowering your blood pressure and reducing inflammation throughout your body.
Now the question is, how do you know what your resting heart rate is, and how do you know what your active heart rate is? Let’s break it down here:
There are two ways to check your resting heart rate. A great way to do this is with a heart rate monitor (or a smart watch) which will tell you on average what your resting heart rate is. It’s also nice to have when you’re getting active, as you can keep an accurate count of your current heart rate at any stage.
The other less expensive option is to check your own pulse while you’re in a resting state. Here’s more detailed instructions on how to do so.
You can also calculate your recommended active heart rate range. To do this, simply subtract your age from 220. This is your maximum heart rate, and it’s recommended you don’t try to push yourself past this heart rate. Now take your maximum heart rate and multiply by 60% (or x 0.6) and this gives you the lower end of your active heart rate. Then multiply your maximum heart rate by 85% (or x 0.85) and this gives you the higher end of your active heart rate. An example would be:
Maximum Heart Rate: 220 – 35 = 185
Target active heart rate - Lowest: 60% x 185 = 111
Target active heart rate – Highest: 80% x 185 = 157
So now you know your resting, active and maximum heart rate goals. And you know the benefits. But now the question is, what are some of the best ways to get your heart rate up?
Walking is a simple, effective way to get your heart rate up. It is lower impact on your body than running, it is also less fatiguing and actually can boost energy. It also improves your mood by reducing anxiety and depression, and reduces symptoms of social withdrawal.
Want to get your heart rate to the top of your active heart rate range? Try a treadmill and increase the incline, or trying out a preprogrammed interval setting, like on our Technogym treadmills.
Take the stairs
If you have the choice between an escalator, lift or stairs, take the stairs before you give your mind a moment to think about it! Just this little bit of added effort can add a couple minutes of active heart rate to your day, and that counts. Plus, how great do you feel when you’re walking up the stairs faster than the people slowly moving on the escalator?
You might be thinking yoga doesn’t get your heart rate up but, that's simply not true. In fact, yoga is a great way to introduce short bursts of increased effort which also helps with weight loss (if that’s your thing). Our yoga flow and yoga align classes are great options for this type of effective heart rate booster.
There are several other benefits of yoga, including being a de-stressor for the body and mind, improved flexibility and balance, as well as can help you sleep better.
HIIT, otherwise known as ‘high intensity interval training’ is a fantastic way to increase your heart rate. Classes such as our Grid Training workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise; think sprinting, body weight exercises, dumb bells or kettle bell exercises, and biking to name a few.
These types of classes are often shorter (15-45 minutes), giving you maximum benefits in a very small portion of your day. HIIT classes also help you burn a lot of calories, plus keeps you burning calories even after class is long done.
Whether you’re headed to a Cycle class or hitting the pavement, biking is a great way to get your heart beat up, quick and steady. Not only is this low-impact exercise great for your heart, it’s also great for strengthening your quads, calves and hamstrings.
The repetitive movement also sets you up for a meditative mindset, which can improve your mental health in addition to those happy endorphins kicking in from the exercise itself.
Coordination aside, dancing is a great way to get your heart rate up. No, you don’t have to take a dance class (unless you want to). Try turning on a favourite playlist (try this one from us on Spotify), locking yourself in a room (so that nobody can walk in on you) and dance your little heart out. It doesn’t matter how you look, what matters is how you feel.
Smiling is guaranteed.
If you’re looking for a way to get to your highest active heart rate, look no further than boxing. Power-packed and energy-infusing, boxing is an incredible cardiovascular exercise option. The best part is you don’t need to be a pro to try boxing. You can book into a boxing class like ours, where you have your own boxing bag to duke it out with, or you can even do it from the comfort of your own home – no boxing gloves needed.
Running and jogging are great ways to increase your heart rate. It also helps build stronger bones while strengthening muscles. It’s a calorie torcher, and nothing can beat that running high.
If you’re a beginner, remember that nobody started with a marathon. Start with small goals and work your way up. Start by jogging (which is a slower pace) and seeing how your first outing goes. You can always try intervals, going from walking to jogging to running and reverse. Remember that the simple act of you trying is always going to be better than not trying at all.
If you’ve been jogging or running for some time, why not see what happens when you reach for a goal? Look for a competition to race in and sign up, or contact a buddy who runs regularly who might challenge you to run a little faster. There’s always something on offer to take your running to the next level.
There are so many ways to get your heart rate pumping, and we’ve got many options right here at Virgin Active Australia. Come check out what we’re all about, book your free tour today.