If you are trying to get the maximum benefits from your exercise regimen then you should keep an eye on your exercise intensity so you know that you are getting the most out of each and every workout by working within your heart rate zone. If you work too hard, you’re likely to injure yourself and, possibly, burn out. If you’re not working hard enough, you may get frustrated when you don’t see results over time.
Your target heart rate zone is the range between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate. Working within this zone gives you the maximum health and fat-burning benefits from your cardiovascular activity. To determine if you are working within this zone you can use a target heart rate calculator. The calculator allows you to simply enter your age and your resting heart rate and then click the calculate button.
To do it manually you must take your first two fingers and place them right under your ear, slide your fingers down until they are right under your jawbone, gently pressing, being with zero on the very first beat and count how many beats there are in a ten second time frame. Multiply that number by 6. You should check this a couple times during your workout so you are always certain that you are within your target heart rate zone.
You don’t want to overwork your heart but you do want to get it beating real well. When you exercise, your body speeds up, and so does your heart as it works to meet your increased energy needs. You have to make sure that while your heart is speeding up that it remains in a safe zone. Your target heart rate isn’t one rate but a range of rates expressed as percentages of your maximum heart rate, which are safe for you to reach during exercise. For most healthy people, the American Heart Association recommends an exercise target heart rate ranging from 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate, which is normally calculated as the number 220 minus your age.
You can feel your heartbeats in several ways, such as by placing your fingers lightly but firmly over the inside of your wrist or on your neck just below the angle of your jaw. You can also place your palm over your heart and count the number of beats that you feel. Right after you stop exercising, take your pulse. As you get in better shape, try exercising within the upper range of your target zone.
Unless you’re exercising at the right pace, you may not be getting the full health benefits that a cardiovascular workout will offer, which is more stamina, lower stress levels, strong bones, even protection against some cancers. You also can use your target heart rate to evaluate your initial fitness level and your progress over time. You should not rely on the results of the calculator if you are taking any medications that affect your heart rate. It is always better to be safe than sorry so ask your doctor what your target heart rate should be.