Heart rates: more important than you think

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So often women work out to achieve fitness for appearance purposes. What we sometimes do not acknowledge is what is happening inside of our bodies as a result of little or no exercise.

Heart disease is currently the number one killer of American women according to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This disease beats others such as cancer and conditions like strokes, lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s Disease and Diabetes. Heart disease also tops the charts for both Caucasian and African American women while ranking second for Asian or Pacific Islanders, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaskan Native females of all ages.

Being aware of a healthy heart rate which is appropriate for your age can help you determine the amount of exercise that is appropriate, what types of foods you should cut out of your diet and much more.

One of the best ways to determine a healthy heart rate is to measure it at rest. When you are working out, there can be a lot of fluctuation based on the type of work out you do, when you take breaks and for how long, etc. Resting allows your heart to slow to its normal speed and thus, for measuring purposes, be more accurate.

But many women are unaware of their heart rates, let alone what a healthy heart rate for their age even is.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had my heart rate measured outside of a doctor’s office,” Sara Nealeigh, an Ohio University Senior said. “Even when they do measure it, they never say what the number means.”

Exercise and age have everything to do with heart rate. According to Top End Sports, the younger and more active you are, the lower your heart rate should be. This is due to your heart growing and becoming more accustomed to working out. Because your heart is stronger, it is able to pump blood throughout the body easier.

“I do notice that when I haven’t worked out in awhile, my heart tends to beat faster,” Ashley Overholt, OU senior said. “I try to stay on top of my heart rate because I know it is important and it can help or hurt me.”

The best way to determine if you have a irregular heart rate for your age is to consult a doctor. Telling your physician how much you exercise and how intense those work outs are will help him or her determine a healthy heart rate and then help you to work your lifestyle around it.

“I feel like it (heart rate) is just something we never think about. We just expect our hearts to keep on pumping no matter what,” Camille Davis, OU senior said.

To get a better idea of what your target at-rest heart rate should be, check out the chart I made on infogr.am and stay healthy!


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