Staying in the Zone: The Importance of Maintaining Your Target Heart Rate


When people start an exercise program, they often look for even the smallest of ways to measure their progress. And some may be disappointed if they don’t lose three dress sizes or break the four-minute mile in a week. But a great way to assess your progress is to measure your target heart rate.

A target heart rate is a percentage of your maximum heart rate. That’s the fastest your heart can safely beat based on your age. Improving heart fitness often requires raising your heart rate to between 50 percent and 75 percent of its maximum and keeping it there for 20 minutes. But exercise has also been shown to have healthy benefits even if it’s broken up into smaller amounts of time throughout the day.

What is my target heart rate zone?
As you age, your maximum heart rate decreases. Estimate your rate by subtracting your age from the number 220.

In general, activity that raises the heart rate above 85 percent of its maximum rate is too strenuous. And, any activity that increases the heart rate to less than half of the maximum may not give you as much benefit. But these numbers depend on many factors, including your general health and any medicines you might be taking.

Your target heart rate zone generally falls between 50 percent and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. For a 20-year old with a maximum heart rate of 200, that zone runs from 100 to 170 beats per minute. For a 70-year old it may be 75 to 128. Your doctor can tell you what your personal target heart rate should be.

When you start your exercise program or increase your activity level, ask your doctor for guidance. If you are in good health, the doctor may suggest starting out by aiming for 50 percent of your maximum heart rate. Once your fitness improves, it may be advised that you slowly build your heart rate up to 75 percent. After six months or more, you may be able to perform comfortably up to a rate of 85 percent. But you don’t have to maintain that level to reap the benefits.

How do I tell if I’m reaching my target heart rate?
To determine your heart rate, you need to take your pulse. Do it right after working out to see if you’re in your target zone, or pause during your workout to take your pulse. To take your pulse:

•Lightly place the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) over blood vessels either:
◦On the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
◦On your neck to either side of your Adam’s apple.
•The beating or pulsing sensation is your pulse.
•Count your pulse for 60 seconds.
◦This gives you the number of beats per minute.
•The final number should be within your target heart rate zone.
If you find your target heart rate zone is too high, you’re straining and should slow down. If the number is too low – and the intensity feels too light – you may be able to push a bit harder. Don’t push yourself to the limit, though. A rule to follow might be to maintain a “conversational pace.” If, while walking briskly, you can:

The talk test is an easy way to measure how hard you are working out.

•If you can talk but not sing, you are doing moderate-intensity activity.
•At a vigorous activity level, you can say just a few words then need to pause for a breath.
Stop right away and call 9-1-1 if you have any chest pain or severe shortness of breath.

Before you start to exercise, speak to your doctor. Some medications (such as blood pressure drugs) may raise or lower your maximum heart rate and target heart rate zone. If you’re taking drugs that can affect your heart rate, talk to your doctor about adjusting your target heart rate zone and activity program.

Remember that pacing yourself is the key to effective fitness, especially if you’ve been inactive.

Halle Berry

Cosmetic Surgery for Scar Removal

Cosmetic surgery has emerged as a safe and sure method for improving the physical features and enhancing the overall... ...

Halle Berry

Ten Bed-time Beauty Tips

Wake up to a fresh and soft skin every morning by following these bed time beauty tips without fail. Taking care... ...

Halle Berry

Which Facial is Good for Dry Skin?

If your skin is extremely dry and flaky, the condition could prove to be of immense concern to you. The skin becomes... ...

Halle Berry

Diabetes During Pregnancy: Will I Need a C-Section?

If you have diabetes during pregnancy, you are more likely than other women to have a large baby. When a baby is... ...

Halle Berry

Cesareans: 10 Reasons Why You May Need a C-Section

One in three babies in the U.S. is born by a cesarean birth (or C-section). A C-section is the delivery of a baby... ...

DASH: Designed for Every Body

DASH: Designed for Every Body

Diets are a lot like fashion. Depending on the season (and which celebrity is currently obsessed),...

Dietary Help for Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Dietary Help for Iron-Deficiency Anemia

If you have been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor has likely advised you to eat...

Simple Swaps! Make Healthy Food Even Healthier

Simple Swaps! Make Healthy Food Even Healthier

Looking for easy ways to boost the nutritional value in your food? ...

Does Advertising affect Eating Disorders?

Advertisements are all around us. What we see impacts us in some or the other way.

How to Stop Online Shopping Addiction

How to Stop Online Shopping Addiction

In the age of electronics, there are many trends that turn into addictions....

Grocery Shopping Tips for College Students

Grocery Shopping Tips for College Students

College life is the most enjoyable part in one’s life but it also inculcates sensibility and ...

Skin Care »

  • Global Hand Washing Day

    Global Hand Washing Day

    The primary practice aim was mobilize people and transform handwashing from being just an abstract idea to an automatic ...
  • Pre School Hand Hygiene

    Pre School Hand Hygiene

    Children are very notorious and they can literally give a deaf ear to their parents when the latter ...
  • Personality Type Diet Plan

    Personality Type Diet Plan

    The Personality Type Diet has been crafted by Robert Kushner. He is a known expert on ...
Easy Way to Stop Smoking
Easy Way to Stop Smoking

Medical practitioners all over the world have been constantly appealing ...

Self Hypnosis Techniques
Self Hypnosis Techniques

A self hypnosis session requires a strong suggestion, proper relaxation and delivering ...

How to Tighten Loose Skin
How to Tighten Loose Skin

Loose skin is a common problem that a lot of women as well . ...

Careers in Speech Pathology
Careers in Speech Pathology

With a rise in speech-related problems in people, speech pathologists are in great demand

8 SureFire Tips on How to Lose Inches Off Your Waist Fast

Want to know how to lose inches fast?

The 2 Types of Knee Braces With Side Stabilizer
The 2 Types of Knee Braces With Side Stabilizer

Do you have a problem with your knees?...

RiRi
Is It Easy To Quit Smoking Forever?

How do I dare to say that it is easy to quit smoking? ...

Kids and Martial Arts Can Be a Great Match
Kids and Martial Arts Can Be a Great Match

All parents want their children to grow up healthy and develop discipline...

Don't miss

Take It Easy: Preventing and Treating Shin Splints

What are shin splints? Typically, shin splints cause pain or tenderness along the shin bone from inflamed muscles,... ...

Fit to a Tee: The Basics of Golf

Think golf is just a slow-paced game for businessmen in plaid pants? Think again – it might be worth taking... ...

9 Ways to Exercise When You Don’t Have Time

You know exercise can help improve your health and lose weight. Yet, 1 in 4 adults doesn’t exercise, according... ...

High BPA levels may hurt Sperm Quality

High BPA levels may hurt Sperm Quality

Medical practitioners have proven that BPA – or Chemical Bisophenol A – considerably reduces the sperm...
Cosmetic Surgery for Scar Removal

Cosmetic Surgery for Scar Removal

Cosmetic surgery has emerged as a safe and sure method for improving the physical features and enhancing the overall...
Does Advertising affect Eating Disorders?

Does Advertising affect Eating Disorders?

Advertisements are all around us. What we see impacts us in some or the other way. Advertisements on television,...
Nicotine Replacement Therapy as a means to Quit Smoking

Nicotine Replacement Therapy as a means to Quit Smoking

In just 10 seconds you are on an instant high! That’s the time nicotine takes to reach your brain and provide...

5 Most Weird Beauty Treatments

Discover beauty using ‘unusual methods’! Listed below are the world’s five most weird beauty treatments....

Fast Food Diet for better health

The Fast Food Diet: What it is Most of us love to eat at fast-food restaurants, but weight gain is major concern....