Having a clear idea of your fitness goals and knowing what level to work during exercise can make or break your success. Whether you are trying to lose weight, increase cardiovascular fitness, or train for an event, your heart rate needs to be working in a certain heart rate range. Knowing your range and checking periodically, you can begin to pace yourself by monitoring your heart rate throughout exercise. By checking your heart rate and slowly increasing your intensity, you can work out longer and at a controlled pace. Training for a race or distance depends on the runner or walker being able to pace himself. If his heart rate gets too high, he will know he is working too hard and may not be able to finish the race. If his heart rate is too low, he knows he can speed up in order to finish in a certain time.

Healthy Heart Zone (Warm up) — 50 – 60% of MaxHR The easiest zone and probably the best zone for people just starting a fitness program. It can also be used as a warm up for more serious walkers. This zone has been shown to help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of degenerative diseases and has a low 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 as the healthy heart zone, but is more intense and burns more total calories. The percent of fat calories is still 85%.

Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) — 70 – 80% of MaxHR The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system AND increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. More calories are burned with 50% from fat.

Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) — 80 – 90% of MaxHR Benefits of this zone include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you’ll be able to fight fatigue better. This is a high intensity zone burning more calories, 15 % from fat.

Training / Elite (Maximum Effort) — 90 – 100% of MaxHR This zone burns the highest number of calories and is very intense. Most people can only stay in this zone for short periods. You should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so.

Now you know what level you want to train in, so how do you calculate your heart rate range? Here is a simple formula to “Be in the Zone Know” The method for calculating your target training zone is based on your MaxHR and resting pulse (RP) (Karvonen Formula): *Take your RP three mornings in a row, just after waking up. Add together and divide by 3, to obtain your average
220) – (your age) = MaxHR
(MaxHR) – (resting heart rate) = HRR (Heart Rate Reserve)
(HRR) x (60% to 80%) = training range %
(training range %) + (resting heart rate) = (your target training zone)

EXAMPLE: a 35 y/o with an average RP of 60 is trying to lose weight as well as increase stamina
220 – 35 = 185 (MaxHR)
185 – 60 = 125 (HRR)
125 x .6 = 75 (60% training percentage)
125 x .8 = 100 (80% training percentage)
75 + 60 = 135 (target training zone, in beats per minute)
100 + 60 = 160 (target training zone, in beats per minute)
Her target training zone, in beats per minute is 135 to 160. * When counting beats, start with the first beat as zero: ie. 0-1-2-3-4..

*How to take your pulse
Place the tips of your index, second and third fingers on the palm side of your other wrist below the base of the thumb. Or, place the tips of your index and second fingers on your lower neck on either side of your windpipe.
Press lightly with your fingers until you feel the blood pulsing beneath your fingers. You may need to move your fingers around slightly up or down until you feel the pulsing.
Use a watch with a second hand, or look at a clock with a second hand.
Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds. Multiply this number by six to get your heart rate (pulse) per minute.
Count your pulse: _____ beats in 15 seconds x 4 = _____ beats/minute

Fitness Goal: Check
Heart Rate Range Calculated: Check
Comfortable Checking your pulse: Check

Ready, Set, Exercise!


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