February 12th 2024

Heart Rate Monitoring at the Gym with Prof Lyne

Heart Rate Monitoring at the Gym with Fitness Wearables


It is becoming increasing popular to track heart rate during physical activity through fitness wearables. Fitness trackers and wearables can provide valuable health data, but when it comes to any health concerns, getting medical expertise is crucial.

An Image.ie reader is seeking advice around using a heart rate monitor chest strap for workouts in the gym. The questions centres around the safety and accuracy of the 220bpm minus age formula. Prof Jonathan Lyne, Director of Electrophysiology and Consultant Cardiologist & Electrophysiologist at Beacon Hospital, addresses these concerns.

Prof Lyne explains that this is a formula commonly used to calculate an approximate value of the maximum heart rate (220bpm minus age). He acknowledges the common use of this formula but highlights its limitations, such as not considering gender, fitness levels, or medical conditions affecting heart rate.   

Prof Lyne emphasizes the importance of interpreting heart rate data in context. Factors to consider include gradual versus sudden heart rate changes and accompanying symptoms like chest discomfort or dizziness.

Regardless of heart rate readings, Prof Lyne recommends visiting your doctor for medical advice if you are experiencing symptoms like chest discomfort or dizziness during exercise. It is important to discuss any issues with your doctors no matter your age. Heart rhythm issues can occur at any age and in individuals with good overall health.

Read Prof Lyne’s full piece and advice on heart rate monitoring with fitness wearables here at Image.ie.