What Should Your Heart Rate Be?

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You're ready to jump into that heart-pumping activity and intensive cardiovascular exercise session, but are you doing more harm than good? Most people don't realize how important it is to keep your heart rate at a certain level while exercising, and you need to maintain a specific heart rate when you want to lose weight or improve your fitness level.

If you're not increasing your heart rate enough -- or pushing yourself too hard and getting it too high -- you won't be getting the most out of your exercise routine. You can determine if you're working out at the optimal level by using a heart rate monitor.

How a Heart Rate Monitor Works

A heart rate monitor is one of the simplest tools for measuring your heart rate while exercising and will give you a fairly accurate idea of what level your heart is performing at any given time. A heart rate monitor works by measuring your pulse; it is strapped onto your arm or chest to measure the frequency of your heartbeat. This will give you an idea of how hard your body is working so you know how to adjust your level of activity.