As I mentioned in my previous post, How to Judge Physical Exertion, I can’t judge my level of physical exertion by how I feel. Therefore, I must rely on a heart rate monitor to gauge how hard my heart is working to help me to avoid leg cramps. However, to use a heart rate monitor, I needed to know my maximum heart rate first. The commonly accepted way to calculate maximum heart rate is this simple formula:
220 – age = maximum heart rate
For example, let’s say I am 65 years old, subtract 65 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 155.
Maximum heart rate is the maximum number of times my heart should beat per minute during exercise. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention article Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate. Nevertheless, not everyone at the same age has the same maximum heart rate. I’ve found that my maximum heart rate has always been a little higher than what this formula gives me.
Knowing my maximum heart rate along with the ability to monitor it greatly helps me take steps to reduce my heart rate before I get fatigued and get cramps.