There is an excellent discussion of this at the
Walking.About.com website, by Chad Tackett of
Global Health and Fitness:
He notes that the measure of the difficulty of your
workout has to do with the % of your maximum
heartrate (which varies with age) you are achieving
and sustaining during your workout.
Short of having your maximum heartrate determined
by testing from a medical or fitness professional,
the recommended maximum heartrate is determined
by subtracting your age from 220.
So, at 43, your maximum heartrate would be 177,
whereas your 30 year-old friend's would be 190.
Chad goes on to explain that the levels of intensity
for a workout are rated as follows, based on the rate
measured during exercise, preferably with a monitor:
"The best way to test the intensity is to take your
heart rate during the exercise, within the first 5
minutes of your cardiovascular exercise session and
again just before the cool-down."
The "Healthy Heart Zone" is 50-60% of your max HR.
The "Fitness Zone" is 60-70% of your max HR.
The "Aerobic Zone" is 70-80% of your max HR.
The "Anaerobic Zone" is 80-90% of your max HR.
Chad also explains the physiological effects of
each Zone, in detail. It's well worth the read.
You can proceed as follows to compare your workouts:
If YOUR pulse, after 5 minutes of your six-minute
mile on the treadmill, is, for example, at 142,
you are exercising at the "Anaerobic" level of
intensity, since you are at 80+% of your max HR,
whereas, if your 30 year old friend's heartrate,
after the same 5 minutes, is also at 142, he is
only exercising at 74.7% of his max HR (142/190),
and is exercising in the less intense "Aerobic"
level. In order to match the intensity of YOUR
workout, his pulse would need to be 80% of 190,
or 152. See?
The figures can easily be adjusted to your 40
year-old friend's age as well. You can thus
determine, after each and every exercise if
you like, exactly who was operating at a higher
percentage of their maximum heartrate, and
therefore, who was working out the hardest.
Searches done, via Google:
exercise heartrate age
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Clarification of Answer by
09 Dec 2002 01:14 PST
In golf, the handicap is determined by past performance,
and physiological measurements, such as heartrate, are
not taken into account. You would like a % time penalty
to apply, however there are two variables here - time
and heartrate. It is therefore possible to calculate
different heartrates (based on age), equal to the same
intensity of exercise, based on equal times of exercise,
or to calculate different lengths of exercise (based on age)
assuming that the heartrates are identical.
There is no way to take into account both variables
(time of exercise AND heartrate) without measuring the
individual performance of the specific individuals involved.
For example, assuming you can all perform the exercise at
exactly the same heartrate, let's say 65% of the maximum
heartrate for a 30 year-old (65% of 220 -30, or %65 of
190 = 123.5). Your 30 year-old friend would have to do the
mile in 6 minutes (at the sustained heartrate of 123.5
beats per minute, or 247 per 2 minutes).
65% of YOUR maximum heartrate (65% of 220 -43, or %65 of
177 = 115) is 93% of your 30 year-old friend's, so you
would only have to use the treadmill for 93% of the 6
minutes he must use it for, or 5.58 minutes.
This assumes that you are sustaining the same heartrate
123.5 beats per minute) as your 30 year-old friend.
Your 40 year-old friend would fall in between. 65% of
his maximum heartrate is 65% of 220 -40, or 65% of 180,
which is 117, which is almost 95% of a 30 year-old's
"Fitness Zone" (65% of the 30 year-old's max HR).
Therefore, he would have to maintain the heartrate of
123.5 beats per minute for 95% of 6 minutes, or 5.7
In short then, assuming identical heartrates:
30 y/o = 100% of the time of any exercise.
40 y/o = 95% " " "
43 y/o = 93% " " "
Obviously, this is a 'handicap' limited to the
assumption that you all maintain the same heartrate,
which is highly unlikely. Thus, there is no simple
formula for calculating what you seek. An accurate
formula will take into account the actual sustained
heartrates of you and your friends during the time
of the exercise. These simply must be measured.
Nonetheless, I believe I've shown you how to take
these differences into account, once they are measured.
I can also show you the calculations which would
determine the different heartrates which each age
would have to maintain for the same duration of
exercise, based on the differences in age, however
the only effective way to compare workouts is to
calculate actual heartrate and age, based on equal
times of workout, using the figures I've shown you.