I have questions about heart rate targets.
I am 52, a long term (12 years) low level regular exerciser (30" 3-4 times weekly on a commercial Precor elliptical, usually the preset intervals program; i usually end up going about 2.6 miles according to the readout). When I monitor my HR, I find that it always ends up at or above the recommended 90th %tile for age, and this has been true for all these years. I enjoy it, and it feels good; in fact, when I strive to keep my HR lower (say, 60th-70th %tile) it feels like I'm not working at all. I have been stably overweight the whole time, BMI about 28, which has been fine with me, but now I'm interested in weight loss as a goal. I read that lower HRs are useful for weight loss, but my question is this: when they say that, do they mean that I should reach AT LEAST that HR? or that I should LIMIT myself to that HR? Is reaching higher HRs DETRIMENTAL for weight loss? And if I should try to stick to a lower HR, is it better to reduce resistance or stride rate? Thanks!
to add to Janet's excellent answer: cardio machines base their heart rate recommendation on a formula of (220 minus age) x a percentile. As you have noticed for yourself, you are in the 90 % range and feel fine with that. This formula is nothing but a guestimate and can vary significantly by individual.
I found an online article which explains this in a lot of detail http://www.gatsby.ucl.ac.uk/~pel/fat/target_heart_rate.
I wish you success.
I think Janet and Karin explained it very well. I agree with them and if your doctor has no objections for you doing some HIIT, it will be a great idea (for the reasons Janet described above).
In addition to finding your target heart rate, I like to use Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) with my clients. I use the scale reading from 0-10 (0 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest)
It can be a great indicator for how hard you are working in combination with any machine readings. Certain medications can also affect heart rate, so RPE can be very useful for that situation since you are listening to your body.
I also agree with HIIT...
Here is a link for RPE. It is an ACE Fit Fact:
(Hope that link works).