when I do cardio my average hear rate for 1 hour is 160bpm. My bp at doc last week was 123/71 with 60bpm heart rate. What I would like to know is – is it ok to train at say 95% of max heart rate? sometimes when i go flat our for a less than a minute etc I can get my heart rate up to 180 but can’t sustain it… am I doing damage to my heart if I train at say 95% o f heart rate 3 days week?
Using an equation to “estimate” your percentage Heart Rate is just that, an estimate. Before you begin a fitness program or activity that is at a higher intensity than you are used to doing, it is wise to get medical clearance.
Be cautious whenever you are pushing the intensity of your exercise. Stay mindful of what you are experiencing. If you feel that you may be getting into trouble always reduce intensity. If it appears that you are experiencing an unusual response (nausea, dizziness, etc.) continue to reduce intensity to a gradual stop and sit down to assess what you are experiencing. If you feel you are having any type of medical issue, stop immediately and be prepared to sit down safely. In the case that you are uncertain as to whether you are having a medical issue or if you think you are, get assistance from someone with you or call 911. Better safe than finding yourself in a serious situation without help.
I would also advise working with a fitness professional, especially in the beginning of an intense exercise program.
There are more thorough ways to find out more about your cardiovascular status. I had a stress test previously when I was training at high intensities. Partly to experience the test as many of my clients had been tested for a variety of medical issues. And partly to help direct my training (find my true HR Max, VO2 Max, etc.) and to be sure that I did not have any undetected issues. It was one of the more intense experiences of my life and I now have a deeper appreciation for what my clients go through when they undergo the test themselves.
One last thought, err on the side of caution. Are you going to be making a better income for training this hard? (As in becoming a professional athlete.) Will training this hard make you a better person? You don’t need to train at such intense levels to reap virtually the same benefit. And training at the correct intensity for your current level of fitness is always smarter than trying to train beyond your current capacity.