Monday, October 10, 2011

Importance of Heart Rate Target

To be effective, exercise must be performed within the aerobic heart rate range for the body to benefit from the workout and burn the most calories. This aerobic range is generally between 60 and 80 percent of a person's maximum heart rate. If you are severely overweight or in poor shape, the aerobic range might be 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Adults should get at least 30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise most days of the week, preferably daily. (Children need at least 60 minutes a day.) Doing less than this will minimize your health benefits. Moderate aerobic exercise is generally defined as requiring about as much energy as walking 2 miles in 30 minutes.
If you want to get a good aerobic workout, strengthen your heart and lungs and lose weight, you must bring your heart rate up to 60 to 80 percent of its maximum level, which is known as your target heart rate zone.

Calculating Your Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate is a range of beats per minute that helps you determine if you're exercising at the optimum intensity. If your pulse is too low, you won't get the maximum benefit from your workout; if it's too high, you won't be able to train as long.

This FREE calculator below will give you suggested heart-rate ranges for various workout levels, based on your age and gender. Keep in mind that these are general numbers—different people may have different ranges. As you become very fit, you'll be able to handle higher heart rates for longer periods of time.

The Heart Rate Calculator

Your Maximum heart rate (HRMax) can be determined using the formula: 226 - your age for women or 220 - your age for men. A more accurate method is to perform a stress test under supervised conditions (highly recommended for sedentary people over 40 slightly overweight).
This free calculator calculates your ranges using 2 different methods. The standard method: HRMax x % and the Karvonen method: HRR x % + HRest where HRR stands for your Heart Rate Reserve and HRest your Resting Heart Rate.
To find out your Resting Heart Rate (HRest) take your pulse first thing in the morning after waking up.  Do this for 3-5 days and take the average, or simply enter your age into the calculator.  To calculate your different ranges simply follow the 4 easy steps below.

Note: The Karvonen method of calculating your exercise heart rate is considered the gold standard, benefiting athletes, or people who are looking for weight loss and fitness improvement.



  1. Choose your sex
  2. Enter your resting heart rate
  3. Enter your maximum heart rate or if you do not know it enter your age
  4. click the Calculate button.
Sex:Female   Male
Resting Heart Rate (HRest):
Maximum Heart Rate (HRMax): or your age: 
Heart Rate Reserve(HRR):

Heart Zones

Zone NamePercentage of Max HRPerceived Exertion Difficulty
Z1 Healthy Zone50%-60%2-5 (perceived exertion)
Z2 Temperate Zone60%-70%4-5 (perceived exertion)
Z3 Aerobic Zone70%-80%5-7 (perceived exertion)
Z4 Threshold Zone80%-90%7-9 (perceived exertion)
Z5 Redline Zone90%-100%9-10 (perceived exertion)

In the lower zones, you can train for longer periods of time. But, as you move up to higher-intensity zones, you need to decrease the amount of time that you spend at those levels, particularly in the top two (the Threshold and Redline Zones). Overdoing it increases the likelihood of injuries or burnout. Your specific heart rate will depend on your workout intensity and your current level of fitness. For maximum weight-loss benefits, I recommend exercising at a high level of intensity zone 3 to zone 4.    

Why is monitoring your heart rate important?

Many exercise training programs are meant to take you through the correct heart-rate ranges automatically, from Recovery (for warming up and cooling down) through Aerobic (for extended cardio) through Threshold (for "extreme" workouts). But it still helps to know your personal target ranges—especially if you're doing a continual cardio exercise where it's easy to alter the intensity. It's also important to know for interval training, in which you work out at a high intensity for a short time, then have a low-intensity recovery period.

Because the heart zones may vary quite a bit from person to person, you can also decide what zone you're in by the "perceived exertion" of an exercise. If you're breathing a little hard but can talk easily, you're probably in the Healthy Heart Zone. If you're breathing very hard and can't talk well, you're probably in the Aerobic Zone. And if you can only gasp one word at a time, you're probably in the Threshold Zone.

Friends, every one of us has dozens of reasons and excuses why we “can’t” test the limits of our potential or push the boundaries or get outside of our comfort zone. And, every single one of those reasons is flawed! If you had never pushed the limits of your ability, you would not be able to walk or run. You would not be able to ride a bike or drive a car. You would not be able to read, get on the Internet, etc. It is only by going “too far” that we discover our strengths and expand our power.  It is time now for you to DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED!

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