How Much Cardio Exercise Is Too Much?


Quick Answer

Exercise intensity is both a subjective and objective measurement, according to Mayo Clinic. It primarily depends on two factors: how a person feels while exercising and the percent of maximum heart rate reached during exercise.

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Full Answer

For healthy individuals the intensity of exercise mostly depends on achieving target heart rates. The maximum heart rate of an average person is 220 beats per minute minus their age. The 100 percent mark is considered to be above the beneficial heart rate level for exercise. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends maintaining the heart rate between 50 and 85 percent of the maximum during cardio workouts.

Everyone’s perceived level of physical exertion is different. It is important to recognize when an exercise is too much and when it's time to either stop or slow down. A healthy person may reach a heart rate level of 70 percent but might become dizzy. In this case, while the heart rate is within the normal target zone, the exercise is still too intense for that person. Individuals with underlying medical conditions should consult with their physicians about how much physical exertion they can do, according to Mayo Clinic.

The AHA recommends that people begin their exercise regimens at 50 percent of the maximum heart rate. Over a period of six weeks, the intensity should gradually increase to reach 85 percent of the maximum.

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