How hard should you push yourself during tennis or any cardio exercise? Some experts espouse an accepted maxim that may – or may not – be true.
Don’t Push It!
Talking with a cardiologist as he reviewed my echo cardiogram a few years back, he said I should STOP playing singles, especially in the Florida heat and not let my heart rate go too high. “What are the signs I should look for?” I asked. “You will die.” was his reply.
When I asked how high I should let my heart rate go during exercise, he used the “accepted” formula …
- 220 minus your age
- (for me, at the time, 220-70 = 150)
- Multiple by 85% (for me 130-135)
- And that equals your “maximum heart rate”
True and Accurate?
So I hopped on Amazon and ordered a heart monitor, which I wore in my next singles match. After a long rally (where I was not breathing hard at all), I checked my heart rate … 160!
On the changeover, I checked again and saw that it had immediately dropped down to under 100.
So I did some online research and found that the “accepted formula” was MADE UP by a cardiologist while flying to a conference to give a speech. And that Olympic rowers, for example, will push their heart rate upwards of 220 beats per minute.
I am not a doctor and do not recommend what anyone else should do; but for me, I now know that I can push my heart rate into the 160s for short bursts and, as long as it quickly drops back down, I am safe.
Like most maxims, they are general rules that apply differently to different people. You can’t tell me that MY maximum heart rate would be the same as that overweight, 75 year old guy at the bar drinking and smoking a cigar!
What do YOU think?
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