Is it normal for the heart to speed up during exercise? – 04/24/2022

If you practice physical activities, especially those of greater vigor or intensity, you may have noticed that sometimes your heart, during exercise, starts to beat faster. This is theoretically normal and need not be cause for concern.

Aerobic activities and intense, constant, repetitions of exercise can place extra work on your heart and thus encourage your heart to accelerate. However, if the increase in frequency generates discomfort, other signs or persists for a long time after carrying out the activities, it is important to pay attention and check what may be happening.

The increase in heart rate, called tachycardia, may not cause any symptoms or complications, but it is also possible that they reveal an exaggerated and excessive practice for the body or even some dysfunction or cardiovascular problem.

What should be the heartbeat during the practice of activities?

First, to have a base, under normal health conditions and without external stimuli, the ideal heart rate varies from 60 to 80 beats per minute. When it is greater than 100, it is called tachycardia. Despite the physiological individualities of each person, we must keep in mind that there is a safe limit to the increase in this frequency.

Generally speaking, for an organism without disease or dysfunction and a healthy heart, we have adopted a basic account: you can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220, that is, 220 [batimentos cardíacos] – age = X [valor máximo que o coração deve bater por minuto durante o exercício].

Now it’s time to understand about intensity

Once you know your maximum heart rate, you can set your target rate zone, that is, the level at which your heart will be exercised and conditioned, but not overdone. The heart rate gives us a more objective view of exercise intensity: generally speaking, the higher the heart rate during physical activity, the greater its intensity.

According to the American Heart Association we can classify as follows:

– For a practice with moderate intensity, the beats should be between 50% and 70% of your maximum heart rate;
– For vigorous intensity training, the value becomes between 70% and 85% of your maximum heart rate.

The body speaks

Exhausted woman after workout, tired after exercise, post workout - iStock - iStock
Image: iStock

In addition to numbers, the body also brings us signals that help us understand the intensity of the practice and how the effort is perceived by the body. When you’re doing an aerobic activity, like running or biking, the intensity correlates with how difficult the activity is for you.

Among the clues of a moderate intensity level, we can mention: faster breathing, but not out of breath, light sweating after about 10 minutes of activity and the possibility of following a conversation.

When we work more vigorously, the breathing becomes deep and fast, sweat appears after a few minutes of practice and we can’t say more than a few words without a pause to breathe.

Muscle fatigue also varies. It is worth remembering that this is unique and particular, since the level of effort can be different between each one when doing the same exercise.

warning signs

Both the body and the numbers can reveal excesses or signs of heart problems. After physical activity, the level of adrenaline in the body still remains high for a period, however, it begins to decrease within a few minutes. This causes the heart rate to start returning to its normal rhythm.

If this does not occur and the heartbeats remain accelerated even after the end of the practice, it is recommended to do an evaluation to understand what is happening. Another point: more than 200 beats per minute during exercise can be a warning sign. If in addition to this, symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain and dizziness still appear, especially if this manifests itself frequently, it is time to seek medical help.

Exercise is important, but don’t overdo it.

When the heart repeatedly endures extreme physical stress, the temporary—and harmless—adaptations can lead to a remodeling of the organ or its functioning.

As the practice of sports happens in an exaggerated way periodically and without the proper recovery of the body, it is possible that, for example, it generates sleeping difficulties or sleep disorders, mood swings or irritability, fatigue and tiredness, exhaustion, dehydration, pain muscles, heart injuries and disturbances in the rhythm of the heartbeats, among other harms.

Research shows that years of intense resistance training can lead to adverse long-term consequences, including myocardial fibrosis, atrial fibrillation, an acquired form of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, ventricular arrhythmias, and coronary atherosclerosis (coronary artery calcification).

High-intensity exercise still elevates the risk of sudden cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death in individuals with underlying cardiovascular disease, especially those with associated risk factors, a history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease.


The proper performance of physical activities routinely contributes to physical and mental well-being. Promotes muscle strengthening, improves cardiorespiratory fitness, favors the reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the level of good (HDL), helps control obesity, blood pressure and diabetes, reduces stress, helps with sleep quality , delays or prevents the onset of problems such as coronary artery disease, among other benefits for cardiovascular health.

In addition, it works for bone health, in the production of serotonin (the happiness hormone), to increase energy levels and to reduce some symptoms associated with aging – among them, the loss of muscle mass. However, everything must be done with balance and care. Exercising at the right intensity makes it possible to get the most out of the activity.

And for that, you don’t need hours and hours a day at the gym: according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activities or 75 minutes a week of high-intensity aerobics already has a significant positive impact. For activities that involve strength, the ideal is to practice at least twice a week (with moderate to severe intensity).

Finally, we must remember that anyone who starts or maintains an exercise program should exercise caution, especially regarding the heart. As the organ is demanded, it needs to react. If it’s not in good condition, it can have negative results — and there’s no age for that!

Therefore, periodic evaluations are important. We often have silent problems that, when they manifest, can have serious and irreversible consequences.

About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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