Knowing Your Target Heart Rates Let You Do Satisfying Cardio Exercises
Without Putting Strain on your Heart
That's the primary job of target heart rates.
Inevitably, when you (and I) do cardio exercise, you'll need to know what are your target heart rates.
The purpose of cardio exercise is to improve your cardiovascular endurance. And for this to happen, you should keep your heart rates at a certain level for a specific period of time.
The easiest method of determining what that level should be is using the maximal heart rate formula.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you should attain target heart rates of between 55% to 90% of your maximum heart rate when doing cardios.
Maximum Heart Rate
So, before you determine your target heart rates, you need to know your maximum heart rate.
Ah, there are some simple mathematical calculations involved, but don't worry, they're pretty easy to do......
First, there will be a target heart rate zone, which really are 2 numbers - the upper and lower limits of your heart rates.
Keeping your heart rates between these 2 numbers let you enjoy benefits from your cardios while not hurting yourself.
The safest target zone is 60% - 80% of your maximum heart rate (Note: if you're out of shape, you might want to do at 50%, then work up).
If you exercise below 60%, it won't give you the results/improvements you desire. On the other hand, if you exercise at above 80%, it'll put you at risk of injury.
Let's calculate your maximum heart rate now:
Example: Say your age is 35.
Your maximum heart rate = 220 minus your age (i.e. 220-35)= 185
Hence, maximum heart rate for your age is 185.
Now, take your maximum heart rate i.e. 185 and multiply it by 60% to get the low end of your target zone.
So, it's 185 X 60% = 111.
Then, take your maximum heart rate i.e. 185 and multiply it by 80% to get the high end of your target zone.
So, it's 185 X 80% = 148.
You can see that your resultant target heart rate zone ranges from 148 to 111.
What does this mean?
Well, when you exercise, check whether you're working in your target zone by taking your pulse and counting the number of heart beats for 10 seconds, then multiply that number of heart beats by 6.
This will give you the number of times your heart beats per minute.
Let's say you take your pulse and counted 22 beats. You multiply it by 6, that gives you 132. This means that you're exercising within your target zone of 148 - 111.
It also means that you're working hard enough to make a difference but not so hard that you hurt yourself.
A number lower than the low end of your target zone means that you need to exercise a bit harder while a number higher than your high-end target zone means that you need to slow down your pace.
But don't slow down suddenly, rather slow down gradually.
Once you get used to working within your target zone, you won't need to take your pulse every time you exercise.
So long as you're doing the same type of exercise, you'll be able to tell whether you're exercising within your target zone or not.
Note:Calculate your heart rate zone once every year, after your birthday, because the results are related to your age
I always use this best gauge to see if I'm in my target zone -when I'm able to breathe comfortably and to carry on a conversation while exercising.
If I become too winded to talk, I decrease my exercise intensity.
One more thing, if you change the type of cardio exercise you're doing or if you stop exercising for more than a week, recheck your target heart rates.
Remember to always exercise at a pace that's compatible with your fitness level.
Taking Pulse Rate
Just now I mentioned about taking your pulse to check your heart rate.
How do you do it?
There are a number of places on your body to take your pulse, but the best place is on your wrist.
Simply place your index and middle fingers (not your thumbs) of your right hand on your left wrist, just down from your left thumb and below your wrist bone.
Rotate your left hand so your palm faces up, the fingers of your right hand should feel an indentation.
Press down softly and move your fingers around slightly until you feel a good strong pulse.
I think the best time to check your target heart rates is 5 minutes after you start your most active part of your cardio exercises. It's good to check it again just before the cool down.
Another way to check your target heart rates during exercise is to use a heart rate monitor that you strap around your chest.
The monitor will give you information on a digital watch that tells you exactly what your heart rate is at a specific time during exercise.
That's so hassle free and a great help too, really.
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