Fitness
Moderators: melkor


Is a HR of 120-140 even a good workout?


Quote  |  Reply

I decided to go for a walk this afternoon. Went close to 3 miles in just over 45 minutes (exact pace was 3.67 mph). I had to get my heart rate up initially by jogging for just 30 seconds, but it was still a struggle to keep my HR up just by walking. It ranged between 120-140 bbm (140 going up hills). I was averaging between 126-130 steps per minute, so not much room for my short legs to go faster and still be walking. 

My question is, am I getting much of a benefit by working my heart rate at such a low level? Or is 120-140 perfectly acceptable for cardiovascular benefits and weight loss?

I guess I'm just used to pushing myself running and having my HR up near 170-180.

38 Replies (last)

Yes, you are getting cardio benefits and also burning calories.

 

Its better than nothing.  Also depends on how old you are.  For me a heart rate of 140 is pretty good - 136 is the low of my hard range being I'm 51.  120 is the high end of my low heart rate for cardio benefits.  

 

It's still a workout! Walking also uses different muscles than running so you're changing it up a bit for your body as well.

How come you don't run right now (since you said you're used to running and pushing yourself more)?

I wish I was in your situation. When I'm trying to run my heart rate shoots up to 160+ and I feel like my chest is going to burst open....and that's with running 5mph on a treadmill and trying to be as smooth as possible.

#5  
Quote  |  Reply

Healtyrunner- I didn't run yesterday because I'd just had a snack and didn't want to try running with food in me- that never feels good. I always run in the morning on a completely empty stomach. And good to know it uses slightly different muscles- my exercise routine doesn't have much variety in it right now.

Antibinge- That's me as well. My heart rate shoots up when I run, but I can maintain a high heart rate for a decent period of time, so I start out running and it goes up to probably around 160 (I don't have a HR monitor), and after a while it gets up to about 180, then I take a break and walk for a couple of minutes, it drops quickly back down to the 140s or so, and then I start running again. I wish I could run and keep my HR down in a normal range rather than up at the top (180 is supposedly my max since I'm 41). But, it hasn't killed me yet, so I keep going, hoping it'll some day be easier!

Original Post by fausonk:

My heart rate shoots up when I run, but I can maintain a high heart rate for a decent period of time, so I start out running and it goes up to probably around 160 (I don't have a HR monitor), and after a while it gets up to about 180, then I take a break and walk for a couple of minutes, it drops quickly back down to the 140s or so, and then I start running again.

I still think you're running too fast. Your heart rate sounds pretty normal, and the fact that it can recover that quickly suggests you're not pushing things too hard. I think you'd benefit from some pacing work: run a quarter mile* or so at your normal pace, then run that same distance a few more times, each time reducing your pace. I bet you'd find that there's a pace that's maybe 1:00/mile slower that enables you to run for a much longer period of time.

*A track is ideal for this because you can divide your quarter-mile time into fourths and have feedback at the middle of each track section. When I'm trying to hold 8:00/mile, that means I need to be at the midpoint of the curved section at 0:30, at the midpoint of the far straightaway at 1:00, etc. That way, even if I'm at 0:31 at the first checkpoint, I know I need to pick it up a bit.

#7  
Quote  |  Reply

Thanks, cnichols. I'm confused, though. You said first you think I'm running too fast, but then the next sentence you say that you don't think I'm pushing things too hard....

 I went out today to a bike path to run (much flatter than my  neighborhood) to see if I could run a 5k with out stopping. I slowed down my pace to make sure I could do the whole thing without my heart rate getting up to 180 half way through a needing to walk.  I managed to do it (yeah me!), but ran SO SLOWLY!!! I did 3.24 miles but it took me 44 minutes! That's only 4.5 mph! I think I need to practice running that a little bit faster each time, and trying to lengthen out the run on a longer run day and not worry about the pace. Does that sound right to you? Unfortunately, I don't have access to a track I don't think.

Original Post by fausonk:

Thanks, cnichols. I'm confused, though. You said first you think I'm running too fast, but then the next sentence you say that you don't think I'm pushing things too hard....

I think what he was saying was that you are not pushing things so hard that you are going to keel over, but that your training would benefit by slowing down your pace a little.

 

Original Post by solid555:

Original Post by fausonk:

Thanks, cnichols. I'm confused, though. You said first you think I'm running too fast, but then the next sentence you say that you don't think I'm pushing things too hard....

I think what he was saying was that you are not pushing things so hard that you are going to keel over, but that your training would benefit by slowing down your pace a little.

Yeah, this is what I meant. If you were unable to get your heart rate below 150 in a reasonable amount of time, and if it immediately jumped back up to 180 within a minute of running at any speed, that would have been "pushing too hard". And as you found, slowing your pace waaaaaaaay down enabled you to run the whole distance without spiking your heart rate.

Don't look at it as "only 4.5 mph", but as "ran for 44 minutes" (yeah you indeed!). And don't worry too much about pace right now; just focus on setting your pace so that you can run the entire distance. You should see the time come down pretty quickly over the next month or so.

Keep it up!

#10  
Quote  |  Reply

Thanks for all of this, everyone. And I have happy news to report... I miscalculated yesterday! I actually ran 3.7 miles yesterday, not 3.2, so my pace was actually 11:53, not 13 something! 

Of course, I found this out by trying to correct yesterday's supposed mistake. I thought I didn't run far enough to my turnaround point yesterday, so I kept going to hit it today. Thought I hit it, turned around and ran back, and came home to map it out to find out that TODAY I RAN 4.7 MILES!!!!  I can't believe it. And I did it at about the same pace I did yesterday- it took 56:30, os about a 12 minute mile pace. 

I RAN FOR ALMOST AN HOUR STRAIGHT! 

Of course, my hr was up where it probably shouldn't be. I finished and it was up near my max of 180 again. But within 2 minutes of stopping and walking to cool down it was back down to 140. I'm not going to sweat it. Because I ran for an hour! Woo hoo!

I have been running for awhile, and am 53 now.  I am pretty sure your HR of 180 at a 12:00 ish run pace suggests that your cardio system needs significant improvement.  I suggest a few things

First, look into low heart rate training.  This program takes months and months, so patience is a key factor.  Keep all efforts at 70% of max heart rate or even 65%.  As your miles add up, your speed will increase.  In 2 years ( when I first started running, maybe 2.5 yrs ago) I ran at 4.6mph, or about 13:00 pace at 130 BPM heart rate. I now run at 10:46....SAME heart rate.  And I have completed a full marathon based on this training. Buy yourself a heart rate monitor....stop the guessing.  Look into Polar brand, spend a $100-.

Secondly, look into Jeff Galloway's method of running, which is a run-walk-run method.   Frequent walk breaks allow you to go much further, with less stress, and also allow your overall heart rate to drop a bit frequently.  I run 5 min, walk 1, then start the run again.  Currently training for marathon 2.  

Finally, test your own max heart rate on a treadmill.  Do two 880s fast, then do a quarter mile all out.  on an incline.  That will be close to max heart rate.  Good luck.  I think if you follow this advice your aerobic system will improve greatly, and injuries will be nil. 

As several people have said it depends on several factors and really you need to know your resting and max heart rate to know if that is good or not.    For example my resting hr is 42 but my max heart rate is 185. So anything above 148 for me is anaerobic and 129.5 to 148 is my cardio range.  While 111 to 129 is fat burning...well at least according to various sites and based on my perceived exertion at those ranges that seems to be correct.

Those of you who have your heart rate just jump when you start running... that was me 4 years ago.  If you keep training at it, and working to go slow enough your heart rate only taps your cardio range, it will eventually take work to get it up there.  It probobly means you are just going to fast for your current skill level.

Salindor

How old you are is definitely a factor in how high your bpm should be. I'm 54 years old and my 80% max load is 133 bpm. Doing forty minutes of HR Interval on my elliptical, I range from 116-133 bpm. My average for the forty minutes falls within 119-123 bpm.

I can't run past 3 minutes since I have just started running for about 2 weeks ago. But I feel sad that people next to me on treadmill can run at a 5 - 7 mph speed while I am only doing 4.5 mph and having hard time in keeping up. 

Similar to one of the poster, my heart rates shoot up to over 180 while only running for less than 3 min at 4.5 - 5 mph.

#15  
Quote  |  Reply

Thanks for all these new responses. Wow! 

As for my max HR, I'm 41, so it's 179. I hit that every time I run- doesn't matter if I run slow or run fast, I hit it. The thing is, I can run at that HR for quite a while... So I'm assuming it's not my true max heart rate because it's not the point where I have to stop- I can run at that rate. Though I guess that's not good?

I'll have to look into low heart rate training... I've never heard of that. 

It seems my body has two exercising heart rates, 120 or 180. I walk, no matter how fast, my HR is about 120. if I run, no matter how slowly, my HR is about 180.

just curious...are you taking any blood pressure medications?  they will keep your heart rate low no matter how hard you work.

Just so folks know, the "220-age" is a very general guideline for finding your max heart rate, but it is by no means particularly accurate for the individual. If you continue to be active, your max heart rate does not necessarily decrease as you age.

Perceived effort is a much better indication of how hard you are working out. Some things just can't be quantified.

Calculation of Maximum Heart Rate

The easiest and best known method to calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR) is to use the formula

  • MHR = 220 - Age

found this formula at

 

http://www.brianmac.co.uk/maxhr.htm

Faithes:

>> I feel sad that people next to me on treadmill can run at a 5 - 7 mph speed

 

A treadmill isn't a race.  It's about your physical conditioning.  What "they" are doing on the treadmill is nothing to you. 

If you want my advice:  get your head into your own run.  "They" don't exist.  It's about you, the minute counter and pace on the treadmill, and your own run.  For those of us who are super-competitive, that's hard to learn I readily admit.  I "solved" that by competing with myself, and/or competing with the treadmill (that clearly is out to destroy me!). 

If you want to race, go to a race.  After you build to the point you think you're ready.  But then comes the hard lesson that even in a race one needs to get their head into their own run if they want to be competitive.    In a competition, I'll ride (I'm a cyclist) as hard as I am able  - my best is either good enough to stand on the podium at the end - or it isn't - but I rode my ride to the best of my ability.  If you can honestly say you left everything on the road or in the gym today, then there is no dishonor, regardless of what the person next to you was doing.

That's my take on it, YMMV.

Original Post by fausonk:

Thanks for all these new responses. Wow! 

As for my max HR, I'm 41, so it's 179. I hit that every time I run- doesn't matter if I run slow or run fast, I hit it. The thing is, I can run at that HR for quite a while... So I'm assuming it's not my true max heart rate because it's not the point where I have to stop- I can run at that rate. Though I guess that's not good?

I'll have to look into low heart rate training... I've never heard of that. 

It seems my body has two exercising heart rates, 120 or 180. I walk, no matter how fast, my HR is about 120. if I run, no matter how slowly, my HR is about 180.

I'd be interested to know what your heart rate is over the course of a 30+ min run (e.g. your 4.7 miler; I can't fathom your HR being north of 170 for an hour). Can you check it and let us know?

38 Replies (last)
Advertisement
Advertisement
Allergy Remedies
Is It Possible to Go Natural?
The side effects of allergy medications keep some people from using them. Natural remedies can be a great alternative, but some are more effective than others.