Target Heart Rate Confusion

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2005
Target Heart Rate Confusion
Sat, 01-17-2009 - 1:31pm

Hi Everyone,

I just joined a gym because my doctor recommended cardio training for high blood pressure and tachycardia. I am 34, extremely out of shape, 50-60 lbs overweight, etc. I am taking a beta blocker (atenolol/tenormin) for the tachycardia and blood pressure and it's all under control. My BP is now normal and heart beat is around 60-70 when resting.

My question is what to use as my target heart rate while at the gym. Due to the meds, I cannot get it above 126 even when I am working hard and out of breath. A trainer at the gym told me not to go above 150, but to aim for 140. I wish! I'd have to kill myself (when not on meds) working out to get it that high. Trainer doesn't know this because when I worked out initially with him I forgot to take the meds that day and the heart rate was high. Also, I don't think he cares - he's young and a bit disinterested, if you know what I mean.

(When not taking meds, I could walk leisurely and get up to 150!).

Thing is, I need to lose weight to help with the BP, etc. Can I still do it when I am not at the 150 rate? I mean, I am breaking a sweat and pushing myself. The HR numbers just can't increase because of the medication.

Thanks in advance (I'm also going to ask my doctor, but cannot get an appointment for a while).

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-09-2002
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 4:08pm

Hi, happy to have you here. I am 53 and was taking Atenolol until my cardiologist decided that I would get better day long coverage with Metropolol. It is true that the meds will not let your heart rate get as high is it would without the meds. I would recommend just working a little longer and not worry so much about hitting the hr target. My cardio also recommended that I substitute one plate of only veggies and fruit in the place of one daily meal for help with weight lose. So far I've lost 11 lbs.

Keep up the good work and let us know how you are doing

Rhonda in CA

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 01-18-2009 - 10:02pm

Welcome to Heart Health, Tpj2005!! I'm glad you found us!

I have nothing to add, really, to what Rhonda has suggested. (I also take Metropolol) I do want to give you a link to some pertinent information. Hopefully, you'll find something that you can use.

Exercise 101: The Importance of Cardio Exercise

What is cardiovascular training and why should I do it?

Answer :
In order for an exercise to be considered "cardiovascular" or "aerobic," it needs to elevate your heart rate to 60 to 85 percent of its maximum rate (the fastest it could possibly beat). When you're in the aerobic zone, you should be able to talk, but not able to carry on a long conversation.

(On the left side of the page you'll find a list of Diets, Workouts, Weight loss tools, etc.)

Let us know how you're doing and what your doctor has to say, okay? I'll be thinking of you!

Heart Hugs, Geri



Avatar for i_florida04
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2004
Mon, 01-19-2009 - 4:04pm

Page 4, defines Target Heart Rate

Page 2, the benefits of exercise

Page 5, questions to ask the doctor