Do you ever work out and glance down at your wearable activity tracker and wonder if the heart rate currently reading is where it should be?

Firstly, you’ll need to know your Resting Heart Rate. If you do have a wearable fitness monitor such as a MYZONE, you’ll know it. If not, your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest. Usually, anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute in normal, though very active people or athletes can have a RHR of as low as 40 beats per minute. Lower is better as it indicates that your heart doesn’t have to work that hard to maintain a steady pulse.

As for your maximum heart rate, it is usually around 220 beats per minute minus your age. For example, if you are 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is around 190 beats per minute. If you are 70 years old, your maximum heart rate is around 150 beats per minute.

Don’t have an activity tracker to monitor your heart rate? Take your index and middle fingers and press them lightly over the artery on the inside of your wrist. For 30 seconds, count your pulse and then multiply that number by two to get your BPM.

If you are a regular gym user and or consider yourself to be fairly active, your target heart rate while exercising should be around 85% of your maximum. This will be challenging but you should feel comfortable while working out at this rate. If you are a beginner and just learning your routine or taking your first fitness classes, target 50% of your maximum. It won’t be long before you will be feeling stronger and catch your breath easier. Gradually work up your heart rate to that sweet spot of around 85%.

By monitoring your heart rate throughout your workout, you’ll be able to determine if you’re going too light and not pushing yourself enough or straining yourself too much for too long and not being the most efficient towards reaching your goals.

NOTE, if you are on medication that affects your heart rate, consult a medical professional to learn what your maximum should be while exercising.