MountainStar Health - June 21, 2019

Right now your heart is probably beating between 3,600 to 6,000 times per hour, but who’s counting? People who want to maximize heart fitness, that’s who.

Tracking your heart rate during exercise can help you strengthen its pumping ability. This month we challenge you to measure your heart rate with a fitness tracker, smartwatch, heart monitor or stopwatch to see how your heart rate changes through periods of rest and exertion.

Normal resting heart rate varies depending on gender, age and genetics, but typically falls between 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). A lower rate usually means your heart is more efficient. If you’re very athletic, your resting heart rate can be as low as 40 bpm. During exercise your heart speeds up to pump more oxygen to your muscles.

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220, then multiply that number by 70 to 80 percent.That’s your target heart rate for rigorous exercise. Federal guidelines recommend 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise (about 55 to 70 percent of max heart rate).

Learn more about heart rate and exercise.

3 post-workout stretches for seniors

Quad stretch: Stand on your right leg, holding onto a wall or a chair for support. Bend your left knee and bring your heel toward your bottom. With your right hand, reach for your left ankle. Stand up straight, relax your shoulders and breathe deeply, holding for 20 seconds. Release and repeat with the other leg.

Calf stretch: Use the wall for support, placing one hand on the wall. Do a split stance, with one leg forward and one leg behind you. Press your back heel toward the floor and lean your body forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Then, repeat with the other leg.

Back stretch: Clasp your hands and extend arms out in front of you. Roll your back forward, pushing your hands away from your body.