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When I run for 8-10 minutes my heart rate goes to 195-200 bpm, I have used several calculators online to determine my maximum heart rate but they all seem to say to my maximum heart rate should be about ~190 bpm. But I keep hitting this high heart rate very quickly.

Should this 195-200 bpm I keep seeing lower the more I run/workout? or should I avoid reaching this high a heart rate because it can be dangerous? Is the max something my body shouldnt be able to go over? And what is an ideal heart rate to train my heart / condition?

I read a lot of conflicting things online and hope someone here can answer these questions or point me in the right direction to help my understanding and workout.

Hopefully the question is clear enough and well placed on this website.

Some info about me, I am 24 years old, 1.9m tall, weigh 75kg and have been a non-smoker for over a year now.

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    Voted to close as being too broad, as you ask four very broad questions in the same paragraph. The only way to truly tell your "maximum" heart rate is through a progressive stress test. – JohnP Oct 16 '14 at 15:57
  • I am 75 and when i run about 6 mile per hour on threadmill my heart rate reaches to 170, but it recover very fast when stop running. Is something wrong with me? – user26642 Sep 14 '17 at 4:00
  • @user26642 - That would be its own question, however it is not on topic, Even this original question isn't really on topic for the site. What your heart "should" or "should not" be doing is a question for your health care professional. Nobody can tell you if that is normal or dangerous except a clinician. – JohnP Sep 14 '17 at 19:03
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A better definition for maximum heart rate is the maximum heart rate your body can withstanding without causing damage (2002 study).

You'll frequently see the reference to "220bpm - your age = your max heart rate". So for you that's 196, but of course that implies that every single 24 year old in the world has the exact same physiology which is untrue.

To really determine your maximum heart rate, you need to have a cardiac stress test performed. A qualified professional will monitor your heart while you huff and puff on a treadmill.

If I personally knew someone that 8-10 minutes of running put them well above the rule-of-thumb marker for their max heart rate, I would very much recommend they have a cardiac stress test performed.

  • I won't downvote it, but you should add that the "220-age" is one of the worst myths in exercise science. – JohnP Oct 16 '14 at 15:55
  • @johnP good to know that's been challenged hard ; it's still around via the cdc and national heart association. It's been years since I've done heart rate based training – Eric Oct 16 '14 at 18:59
  • True, it's still around, but it's rubbish. :p – JohnP Oct 17 '14 at 16:36
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    JohnP: Sources? – Nick Silberstein Nov 14 '14 at 0:44
  • @NickSilberstein Its a statistical thing so any time you talk about only one instance you can't rely on it being true anymore and shouldn't use it like he is. – Jason Jul 30 '15 at 0:43
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There are widely varying stances on optimal exercise heart rate, but there is some common ground that most people agree on.

  • If you perform any kind of activity at maximal (or close to it) heart rates, your exercise duration will necessarily be brief, as your body simply can't store and use enough glycogen to support this kind of effort for long durations. While you can increase your ability to store and use glycogen, there is a hard upper limit on how long you can go at these types of intensities.
  • If you work out at too low an intensity, you don't really do a lot with regard to increasing fitness or burning calories unless you work out for a long duration, which if you're just beginning may not even be within your capabilities for a while.

Hence, the suggestion of intervals is a good one. This allows you to burn and recover (somewhat) in turns and increase your workout duration beyond what you could do if you're close to your maximal heart rate all the time.

Alternatively, there is the notion of base building, where you just slow down until you're exercising in a mid-range heart rate and go longer. Many athletes perform this type of exercise in the "off season". The idea being that you're performing at a level where your body can still acquire some of its energy by converting and burning fat, but high enough that you're training your body to work a bit harder. The goal of this type of exercise, then, is to increase the duration for which you can perform at a given heart rate (say 60-75 percent of max) and also increase the speed at which you can perform at that same heart rate. Then, once you've built up a larger aerobic base capability, you can add intervals, hills, speed work, etc. to add power and speed to your ability to "go long".

A good estimate for the sort of base building heart rate you may want (give or take a bit) is 180 - your age. Staying within 5 or 10 bpm of this will provide a bit of flexibility, especially when starting out as it's hard to measure effort.

Another thing to note is that this requires a lot of patience. If you're just starting out and running for 8-10 minutes ramps you immediately into 190-200 bpm, you may find that to keep your heart rate in base building range you have to go at not much more than a slow shuffle, or walk 100 yards and run 50, or some such. This can be pretty frustrating, but in my experience has been well worth it.

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Like many simplistic calculations, the typical estimate for maximum heart rate is just that, an estimate. It will work well for some people and not for other people. If you have a heart that is smaller than average, you will likely have a higher maximum heart rate. This is why many exercise programs use a perceived exertion scale rather than a heart rate measurement.

The question of whether you should work out at your maximum heart rate is a question for you to bring up with your physician and is not directly tied to what that maximum rate might be.

As for the optimal heart rate to exercise, it depends totally on what your goals are and how much you have been training. If you are just getting into exercise, then exercising at a level where you are just starting to get out of breath is a good place to start. On the other hand, if you are an experienced athlete, doing maximal effort intervals may be part of your regular training.

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