Is exercising above my Target Heart Rate bad for me?
Asked by nlemay on Jun 30, 2008 in Fitness

I am just starting an exercise program, so I wanted to make sure I am working hard enough to make a difference.  My Target Heart Rate is 95-113, yet when I do Spin, the elliptical, or the treadmill, I get to 140-160.  I am worried that this is going to be bad for my heart.  Is it?  Or is the target telling me to be AT LEAST that but over is okay?  I am out of shape, but if I can't exercise I will not get into shape. HELP!


Exercising too far above your Target Heart Rate (THR) can lead to injuries and burn out, but it will not damage your heart.  Depending on his fitness level, an individual may workout at 40 - 90% of maximum heart rate. The THR goal is an average, not a minimum.  Yours is set at 50-60% for a beginner.  To see if you are exercising too hard, take the “breath test”:  If you can carry on a conversation while working out, your THR level is okay, but if you become winded, you need to slow down to where you can talk again.  Read about cardio exercise for beginners for the Guide to Exercise at

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