Heart Rate Zone Training

Heart Rate Training

Heart Rate Zone Training,Heart Rate Zones

Heart Rate Training Zones:

Most of us have grasped onto the handles of the treadmill to compare our heart rate with the heart rate zone chart listed on the machine, but do you really know what we should be looking at and what the zones mean?  If you have answered no to the question above do not feel alone, there are many exercise enthusiasts out there that have the same question.  This article will assist you in finding your Resting Heart Rate and calculating your Maximum Heart Rate and Target Heart rate as well as explain and define the four main Heart Rate Zones , so you may decide for yourself what zone will be best for you based upon your current fitness level and goals.

Calculating Resting, Maximum, & Target Heart Rate:

In general, a lower heart rate at rest generally means that the heart is functioning at a more efficient rate and cardiovascular fitness is enhanced.According to the Mayo Clinic “a normal resting heart rate ranges from 60-100 beats per minute (bpm).”  In general, a lower heart rate at rest generally means that the heart is functioning at a more efficient rate and cardiovascular fitness is enhanced. Elite athletes may have a Resting Heart Rate as low as 35-50 bpm. To find your Resting Heart Rate, adjust your wrist so your palm is facing upward and place two fingers from the opposite hand on your wrist. Once you have felt a pulse count the number of beats in 10 seconds and multiply by 6. Write down this number as you will need it later to calculate your target heart rate.

Now that the Resting Heart Rate has been measured, we must define and calculate the Maximum Heart Rate.  A Maximum Heart Rate is dependant on age and is defined as the highest heart rate an individual can safely achieve through exercise.  The most accurate way of measuring an individuals HRmax is to undergo a cardiac stress test performed by your physician with use of an EKG. For practical purposes we will use the HRmax  formula provided by Indiana University; HRmax = 217 – (0.85 x age). Therefore a 35 year old female would have a maximum heart rate of 188 bpm ( beats per minute). Once your maximum heart rate is calculated you may then calculate your Target Heart Rate for each heart rate zone.

Target Heart Rate:

Target Heart Rate is defined as a desired range of heart beats per minute reached during exercise to receive the most benefits from a workout. An individual’s target heart rate zone can range from intensities of 50 – 85%.  Provided below is an example of the Karvonen method Target Heart Rate (THR) Formula.

((THR= HRmax – Hrrest) x % intensity) + HRres
Example for someone with a HRmax of 188 and a HRrest of 65
Low Intensity of 60%: ((188 – 65) x 0.60) + 65 =  138 bpm
High Intensity of 85%: ((188-65) x 0.85) + 65 =  169 bpm

Knowing how to calculate your Target Heart Rate is very important when selecting a Heart Rate Zone. Now, you can better understand your body and what your limitations and strengths are.

Heart Rate Training Zones:

When exercising on a treadmill or any other piece of cardiovascular equipment, you noticed a chart listed on the display menu to coordinate your age with your current heart rate, resulting in a particular heart rate zone.  But what exactly does this heart rate zone mean and are you working out in the correct zone to reach your fitness goal?  The second half of this article will list, define, and explain the benefits of the five different zones in heart rate training as well as recommend ways to increase your cardiovascular endurance.

The 5 Zones of Heart Rate Training:

The 5 Zones of Heart Rate Training include:

  • Heart Healthy Zone
  • Weight Management Zone
  • Aerobic Zone
  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Red-line Zone

Heart Healthy Zone:

The Heart Healthy Zone burns minimal calories within a given amount of time but is perfect for all levels especially beginners, those who are recovering from prior injuries, and/or those who have health concerns.When working out in the Heart Healthy Zone you are working at or around 50-60% of your maximum heart rate, this is a low intensity exercise with little to no impact, reducing the amount of stress placed on such joints as, knees, ankles, and hips.  The Heart Healthy Zone burns minimal calories within a given amount of time but is perfect for all levels especially beginners, those who are recovering from prior injuries, and/or those who have health concerns.  This zone reaps all of the benefits to keep your health in great condition including:

  • Lowering “bad cholesterol”, known as Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
  • Raising “good cholesterol”, known as High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
  • Lowers Blood Pressure (ideal is 120/80)
  • Reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, also known as adult on-set diabetes
  • Manages weight
  • Improves Mood
  • Reduces Risk of Heart Attack
  • Decreases Resting Heart Rate

In conclusion to the Heart Healthy Zone, if you are not currently performing any type of physical activity, try to include a low impact enjoyable form of exercise at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week to maintain andor increase your health.

Weight Management Zone:

The Weight Management Zone, also known as, the Fat Burn Zone is accomplished by performing cardiovascular fitness within the range of 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.  When exercising in this zone your body utilizes a higher percentage of calories from fat than in cardiovascular exercises performed at higher intensities. However, even though you are burning calories from fat, it is still important to push yourself a little bit further reaching into the Aerobic Zone especially if your main goal is to lose weight.

Let’s view my point through two different examples. In both examples we will use a 150lb female working out for a duration of 30 minutes. In the first scenario she is walking briskly within the Weight Management Zone at 3.5 mph, at this rate she would burn approximately 140 calories, utilizing only 56 calories from fat. ( 40% of 140 is 56).  If the same woman increased her intensity to a 7 mph run, for the same duration of 30 minutes, she would burn approximately 400 calories broken down into 160 calories from fat and the remaining 240 calories from carbohydrates.  The end result being that your workout is within the same short duration of 30 minutes but you have burned more than twice the amount of calories while reaping all of the benefits of the Heart Healthy Zone.  As your body becomes more efficient, you burn more overall calories while increasing your intensity to the Aerobic Zone.

Aerobic Zone:

The Aerobic Zone is performed at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate and as noted above, the aerobic zone uses both stored fat and carbohydrates for fuel and can burn twice as many calories or more The aerobic zone uses both stored fat and carbohydrates for fuel and can burn twice as many calories or more within the same duration of time.within the same duration of time. The Aerobic Zone not only increases the amount of calories burned and receives the benefits of the Heart Healthy Zone but also increases your stamina and endurance. So chasing after your kids or walking up the stairs won’t make you out of breath anymore.

Anaerobic Threshold Zone:

The Anaerobic Threshold Zone is performed at 80-90% of your maximum heart rate and is only safe to perform for those who are properly conditioned with a healthy heart. This zone uses mostly stored carbohydrates as the main source of fuel. To break down what macronutrients you are utilizing in this zone would include 85% of total calories deriving from Carbohydrates, 14% from Fat, and  1 % from Protein. You cannot achieve this zone by walking at a steady pace, one would have to increase their speed and/or incline to reach the proper heart rate zone. Training in this particular zone has its benefits too, these benefits include fitness conditioning, athletic performance, and increase muscular strength as well as the benefits listed in the Heart Healthy Zone.

Red-Line Zone:

The last zone that is listed on most charts is the Red-Line Zone, this zone is performed at 90% of your maximum heart rate and is not highly recommended, many training in this zone cannot withstand this heart rate for more than a couple minutes at best. Within this zone your body does not utilize oxygen, instead it uses a source called ATP (adenosine triphosphate ) contracting your muscles and releasing energy at a very quick yet short rate. There is only so much that is readily available within your body, this is why one can only last a few minutes at this zone. A great example of one that would train in this zone is a Sprinter, I sprinter needs to go a particular distance in the shortest period possible. They would benefit from High Intensity Interval Training, to not only increase their speed but also increase their endurance while keep their heart and body strong.

Heart Rate Zone Advancement Recommendation:

For those who are trying to increase their endurance and conditioning I would recommend beginners to stay within the Heart Healthy Zone for the first 4 weeks, exercising 3-4 days per week for the duration of 30 minutes minimum. This amount of time will allow you to prepare and condition your cardiovascular system for higher intensity levels.

If you are not familiar with exercising and/or are beginning a new program it is highly recommended to consult with your physician prior to engaging in physical activity.You can then proceed to the Weight Management Zone for at least 5 weeks. Perform your cardiovascular routine 3 -4 days per week for a minimum of 30 minutes at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. You may gradually increase to the aerobic zone to strengthen your heart and challenge yourself further to reach ranges between 70-80% of you maximum heart rate.

Finally if you are looking to enhance your speed you may proceed to the Anaerobic Threshold Zone.
Always be cautious and listen to your body, only you can realize what is going on within your body. If something does not feel right or you feel extreme discomfort, discontinue exercising at high intensities until you feel you are conditioned enough to proceed further.  Lastly and very importantly, if you are not familiar with exercising and/or are beginning a new program it is highly recommended to consult with your physician prior to engaging in physical activity.

 

 

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