Train In Your Target Heart Rate

How do you train in your target heart rate? According to the American Heart Association, to stay healthy during exercise you should aim for exercising at 50-85% of your maximum heart rate.  That means that you need to know your heart rate when working out to stay within this zone.

The desired range, in beats per minute, varies by age.  Maximum heart rate is determined by subtracting your age from 220.

In order to train in your target heart rate, you first need do know a simple way to calculate what that rate is. Here is an example of how to calculate target heart rate. If you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is 180 (220-40).  To find your target heart rate zone, simply multiply that maximum heart rate by 50% and 85% to get 90 (180 x 50%) and 153 (180 x 85%), respectively.  This means your target heart rate is 90-153 beats per minute.

If you can’t measure your pulse you can determine how you’re doing by whether or not you can hold a conversation.  If you can talk to someone else while exercising you are likely not exceeding your target heart rate.  If you cannot hold a conversation because you are out of breath, you are likely above your desired target heart rate zone.

It is a good idea to stay on the lower end of your target heart rate if you are just beginning a workout routine, though not for fat loss reasons. You can burn fat at any heart rate. As you get into better shape you will be more comfortable at the upper end of your zone.

The most effective way to measure heart rate is with a heart rate monitor. These use a measuring strap around your torso (don’t worry – it’s quite comfortable) and a wrist watch receiver so that you can see your heart rate at any time.

Remember, your maximum heart rate is 200 minus your age. Your desired target heart rate is 50% – 80% of that maximum. Start slow and build towards the high end of your target heart rate zone. Use a heart rate monitor. If you can’t, work out at a “conversational” level. Follow these guidelines to train in your target heart rate.

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