The American Heart Association recommends you raise your heart rate to 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate to achieve health benefits. If your target heart rate is 115 beats per minute, and you achieve that at 3 mph, then that speed is perfect for you.
How do you configure your target heart rate? The simple equation is as follows:
Multiply your maximum heart rate by 50 percent and 85 percent to find your target heart rate (THR) range.
The 50 to 85 percent target heart rate range of a 65-year-old person is 78 to 132 beats per minute.
The Borg Rate of Perceived Exertion, RPE, scale is another way to determine if you are challenging yourself on the treadmill or during any exercise activity. The scale works well if you are on a medication that lowers your heart rate or are unable to keep track of your heart rate.
When exercising, you need understand how your body feels at different intensities and rate it on the 6 to 20 scale -- 6 is no exertion, and 20 is unable to continue exercising. For example, if you are walking at 3 miles per hour and feel like you are at RPE 7.5, you need to walk faster. On the other hand, if you feel like you are at RPE 19, you need to slow down. Here's a scale to help you make a determination:
- 6: No exertion at all
- 7.5: Extremely light
- 9: Very light
- 11: Light
- 13: Somewhat hard
- 15: Hard (heavy)
- 17: Very hard
- 19: Extremely hard
- 20: Maximal exertion
If you are unable to walk faster, using the incline on the treadmill is a great way to increase your heart rate. Walking up a hill is harder than walking on a flat surface, making your heart beat faster and increasing your heart rate.
Walking on the treadmill is an excellent way for seniors to stay active. With 30 minutes a day of brisk treadmill walking, you can be well on your way to meeting the recommended daily physical activity to reduce your health risks and maintain fitness. Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program if you haven't been exercising or if you have health concerns.