Working Out With
Target Heart Rate & Training Zones

Your target heart rate is a very important component when determining your fitness goals. It is approximately 50-80 percent of the maximum that your heart can beat! This "maximum heart rate" or MaxHR, is roughly calculated as 220 minus your age. To get the most cardiovascular benefit , this is the heart rate that you should strive for when working out, after completing your warm-up activities!

To check that you're within your range, you would be required to periodically stop and check your pulse. If you don't want to interrupt your workout, you can use conversation as your measuring tool.

If you can talk comfortably, you aren't working hard enough, but if you get out of breath quickly, and have to stop and catch your breath, then you are probably working too hard.

To check your heart rate during exercise..

  • Stop
  • Take your pulse for 10 seconds
  • Multiply this number by 6 to calculate your beats per minute
Welcome to target heart rate!

Beginners should strive to work at 50% of their THR for the first several weeks. A gradual build up to 75% after about six months would be appropriate. 

To simply "stay in shape" it is not necessary to work that hard. The most up-to-date research indicates that for "basic health", you should exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, at a moderate level of intensity, 5 days a week. For more significant health and fitness benefits,  you would want to double that time or work out at a greater intensity.


This research further states that if you are exercising at an intensity that makes conversation difficult, you can cut the recommended time in half (15 minutes) for basic health. 

Research still supports that 10-minute chunks are effective if you can't carve out 30 minutes at one time.

Heart Rate..

  • Ambient heart rate-beats per minute (bpm)at relaxed, sedentary state. "Normal" is approximately 70 bpm. The lower the better...
  • Resting heart rate-measured first thing when you wake up before you get out of bed. "Normal" is approximately 50-60s bpm. The lower the better...
  • Maximum heart rate-the fastest your heart can beat for one minute. A rough estimate is 220 minus your age.

Training Zones..

  • Healthy Heart Zone (Warm up)
    50 - 60% of max HR
    This zone can help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of injury. 85% of calories burned in this zone are fats!
  • Fitness Zone (Fat Burning)
    60 - 70% of maxHR
    This zone provides the same benefits and fat-burning percentage.
  • Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training)
    70 - 80% of maxHR 
    The zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system as well as increase the size and strength of your heart. More calories are burned and 50% of calories burned in this zone are fats!
  • Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training)
    80 - 90% of maxHR
    This zone improves the cardio-respiratory system, improves endurance, and enables you to fight fatigue. More calories are burned but only 15% of calories burned in this zone are fats!
  • Red Line (Maximum Effort)
    90 - 100% of maxHR
    This zone burns the highest number of calories but few people can stay here for more than a few minutes. You should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have a doctor's recommendation.

So, determine your target heart rate today and use that information to establish your own training goals! Enjoy!

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