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The Five Heart Rate Training Zones

 

 

 

Your training heart rate zone is a critical element in exercise.  You must train at a variety of different heart rates in order to stimulate your body to improve your fitness level. Taking your pulse and figuring your heart rate during a workout is one of the primary indicators in ascertaining the intensity level at which you and your heart is working.Your training heart rate zone is a critical element in exercise.  You must train at a variety of different heart rates in order to stimulate your body to improve your fitness level. Taking your pulse and figuring your heart rate during a workout is one of the primary indicators in ascertaining the intensity level at which you and your heart is working.

 

 

 

 

The Karvonen Formula


This is a heart rate reserve formula and it’s a simple and effective method used to calculate training heart rate. The formula factors in your resting heart rate, therefore, you’ll need to determine your resting heart rate by doing the following:

This is a heart rate reserve formula and it’s a simple and effective method used to calculate training heart rate. The formula factors in your resting heart rate, therefore, you’ll need to determine your resting heart rate by doing the following:

 

- Prior to getting out of bed in the morning, take your pulse on your wrist (radial pulse) or on the side of your neck (carotid pulse).
- Count the number of beats, starting with zero, for one minute. If you don’t have a stop watch or a second hand in your bedroom, you can measure the time by watching for the number to change on a digital alarm clock. Find your pulse and start counting when the minute number changes the first time, stop counting when it changes again.
- To help assure accuracy, take your resting heart rate three mornings in a row and average the 3 heart rates together.

 

 

 

 

Another element in finding your training heart rate zone is determining the intensity level at which you should exercise. As a general rule, you should exercise at an intensity between 50% - 85% of your heart rate reserve. Your individual level of fitness will ultimately determine where you fall within this range. Use the table to the left as a guide for determining your intensity level:Another element in finding your training heart rate zone is determining the intensity level at which you should exercise. As a general rule, you should exercise at an intensity between 50% - 85% of your heart rate reserve. Your individual level of fitness will ultimately determine where you fall within this range. Use the table to the left as a guide for determining your intensity level:

 

 

Now that we’ve determined and gathered the information needed, you can determine your ideal target heart rates using the Karvonen Formula. You may also determine your ideal target heart rates by completing a variety of exercise tests at your medical fitness center. The most accurate means of calculating your training zone is to have an exercise stress test taken by a sports medicine specialist. For example, a sub max or max VO2 will allow you to determine your current cardiovascular fitness level, and then provide you with the most accurate information to determine your ideal target heartrates. If you are unable to do this you may use the Karvonen formula to determine your age predicted target heart rates:

 

- Your maximum heart rate can be determined by subtracting your age from 220
- Subtract your resting heart rate from 220
- Multiply by 0.70 for 70%
- Add your resting heart rate which gives you your 70% level
- Repeat the following step to find 60% or 85% levels

 

 

220 - Age = Maximum Heart Rate - Rest

Heart Rate x Intensity + Rest = Training Heart Rate

 

 

For example, Elaine is 33 yrs old, has a resting heart rate of 75 and she’s just beginning her exercise program
(her intensity level will be 50% - 60%.) Elaine’s training heart rate zone will be 131-142 beats per minute:

Elaine’s Minimum Training Heart Rate:
220 - 33 (Age) = 187
187 - 75 (Rest. HR) = 112
112 x .50 (Min. Intensity) + 75 (Rest. HR) = 131 Beats/Minute = Elaine’s Training Heartrate at 50%

Elaine’s Maximum Training Heart Rate:
220 - 33 (Age) = 187
187 - 75 (Rest. HR) = 112
112 x .60 (Max. Intensity) + 75 (Rest. HR) = 142 Beats/Minute = Elaine’s Training Heartrate at 60%

 

Periodically, take your pulse during your exercise session to gauge your intensity level. Typically, the easiest location for taking a pulse is on the side of your neck, the carotid pulse or on your wrist, the radial pulse by placing your first two fingers in the groove of your wrist just below the base of your thumb. Be sure not to press too hard, and always use the first two fingers, never your thumb, on the carotid or radial artery or you’ll get an inaccurate reading. Count the number of beats, always beginning with zero, for 6 seconds (then multiply by 10), or for 10 seconds (then multiply by 6) to get the number of times your heart is beating per minute. If your pulse is within your training heart rate zone, you’re right on track! If not, adjust your exercise workload until you get into your zone.

 

Count the number of beats, always beginning with zero, for 6 seconds (then multiply by 10), or for 10 seconds (then multiply by 6) to get the number of times your heart is beating per minute. If your pulse is within your training heart rate zone, you’re right on track! If not, adjust your exercise workload until you get into your zone.

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