Fitness — 06 June 2011
At the Heart of Fitness

Your Target Heart Rate
By Kristeen Uzoh

There’s more to attaining optimum fitness than just exercising. In fact, to get an effective workout many things must be considered. One of the most important factors is your heart rate.

Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Reach what’s called your Target Heart Rate and the body becomes a calorie burning machine. Miss it and your workout may have been all for naught.

Proper heart rate is so significant to fitness that trainers monitor it when helping clients achieve their fitness goals. It is a gauge of the body’s cardiovascular level.

Much like how a car isn’t fully efficient until the engine has warmed up; your workout hasn’t fully begun until you’ve reached your target heart rate.

When at your target range, you get maximum benefit from your workout. Your body is in fat burning mode. In this zone you are effectively working out. Outside of it you are wasting your time.

So how do you calculate your target heart rate? It varies by age. But generally speaking, a person’s Target Heart Rate is: 220 minus their age multiplied by .75 – or multiplied by .85 for increased intensity.

220 minus your Age, multiplied by .75 = Target Heart Rate

Innovative devices, such as the MIO heart rate watch, make monitoring heart rate thresholds easy. Calculations can be read by merely placing two fingers on the bezel.

You can also monitor your heart rate manually. Place your index and middle fingers on your wrist then count the pulses for 30 seconds. Multiply that number by 2. This yields your current heart rate.

Once you know your Target Heart rate you know how to be successful in working out. Exercise lightly until you reach your Target Zone. Once there, have a calorie-burning party. Exercise with results.

The 3 Types of Heart Rates

• Resting: heart beats per minute when not exerting oneself. Rate varies by person. Can be 40 Beats per Minute (BPM), or as high as 100 BPM. Averages 70 BPM for men and 75 BPM for women.
• Exercise: increased heart rate from sustained physical activity. Also called the target heart rate range
• Maximum: rate at which the heart beats at 100% exertion. Only work at maximum heart rate under the supervision. Nears Anaerobic Threshold where the body is essentially working out without oxygen. Threshold depends on fitness level and age. Anaerobic threshold can be damaging.

Possible side effects of going over your maximum heart rate:
• Exhaustion
• The body stops burning fat
• Lactic acid builds up causing you to hyperventilate – seeking more oxygen to remove the acid

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