September 1, 2022

FitnessCheck: How to Determine Your Maximum Heart Rate

Whether you’re looking to take your training to the next level or striving to achieve peak fitness, knowing your maximum heart rate (or max HR) is a starting point to hitting the adequate training zones and getting the most out of your workout.

Read on to learn how determining your max HR can help, what it means and doesn't mean, which factors impact max heart rate, and how to use it to push yourself just enough.

Firstly, What Is Max HR?

Max HR is the highest number of beats your heart can make in a minute under maximum stress. 

It’s used as a benchmark for maximum output your body can produce.

Max HRs can vary from person to person. Your max HR in itself is not an indicator of your level of physical fitness. In other words, it does not rise as your fitness improves or if you exercise more regularly, nor is it a sign that you’re in a better shape than someone else if you have a higher max HR than they do. Although, the fitter you are the more likely you’ll be able to reach the intensities required to hit your max HR.

Why It's Important to Know Your Max HR

Knowing your max HR gives you a better understanding of what your HR zones are, thus helping you determine your target HR and track your fitness progress more accurately.

Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or a casual gym goer, you might like to push yourself to your limits to see how your body performs, even if it’s only for a short period of time. Either way, your max HR is necessary for tracking what percentage of your personal max you’re hitting during workouts.

Once you know what your max HR is, you can then structure your training around specific intensities (presented as Training Zones in the Prevayl App) as opposed to relying on your perceived exertion. Since your Training Zones are calculated based on your max HR, having the wrong max HR can mean the difference between one Training Zone and the next, and result in you training at an intensity that’s too high or too low for your goals.

How to Calculate Your Max HR

The most commonly used formula for calculating your max HR is to simply subtract your age from 220. So if you’re 30 years old, your max HR theoretically would be 190 bpm. However, this method is flawed for various reasons: it’s less accurate for both younger and older people, and it also fails to take into account variables specific to you like your gender, height, possible medical issues and, of course, genetics.

So, how do you accurately determine your max HR?

Enter FitnessCheck, a feature in the Prevayl App to give you a more complete picture of your current health and fitness, allowing you to benchmark and measure your progress.

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FitnessCheck is not just a tool to determine your max HR, it also gives you a lightweight assessment of your fitness from your HR recovery, which is the rate at which your HR returns to normal after peak exercise.

HR recovery is a useful metric for evaluating your physical fitness as it can indicate your physical cardiac condition and even the risk of certain diseases. In general, the better your physical fitness level, the quicker your heart will recover after exercise.

How to Start a FitnessCheck

Before starting a FitnessCheck, make sure that you’re well-rested and that your Sensor is paired and connected to the Prevayl App, then following the steps below:

  1. Tap the + button on home screen
  2. Select FitnessCheck
  3. Familiarise yourself with the steps
  4. Tap START
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You should aim to do a FitnessCheck once every 4-6 weeks.

Upon completion, you’ll see a summary of your HR recovery, along with an overview of your HR throughout the session and a prompt to update your max HR – be sure to tap UPDATE.

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What’s more, your FitnessCheck counts as a workout towards your weekly TRGT too.

What is your max HR? Let’s find out. Start training smarter with a SmartWear® Training Pack – shop our Men’s and Women’s collections now.

September 1, 2022 - Written by Prevayl

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