One of the most important aspects of cardiovascular activity is getting your heart rate to be in its target zone. Getting your heart rate into your target zone is the key to not under-exercising and not overworking yourself. Although you should push yourself to improve, working your heart too hard can actually slow down your metabolism and cause you to burn fat more slowly! Besides that, over-exercising will also increase your risk of injury and temporarily weaken your immune system. Hitting your target heart rate not only nullifies these issues, but it also gets you into your maximum calorie burning zone. Remember that this is different for everyone. Here are the steps on how to find and enter your target heart rate zone when exercising.
- Find your resting heart rate
There are various devices that can measure your heart rate, including many built-in to fitness equipment, but if you don’t have access to these here’s how to measure your resting heart rate the old fashioned way. There are two spots to take your pulse. First is on your wrist. Take your index and middle finger and place your fingertips on the outer edge of your wrist until you feel a strong pulse. Count how many times your heart beats for 15 seconds and then multiply it by four to determine your beats per minute, or BPM. Alternatively you can also take your pulse on your neck using the same two fingertip technique. Be careful not to use your thumb because you can also feel your heart beat in it, which may confound your count. The average heart rate for an adult is between 50 to 90 BPM, with athletes having a lower rate on average.
- Finding your target heart rate
As a rule of thumb, your maximum heart rate is usually double your resting heart rate. This is not the target heart rate though, reaching your maximum heart rate would be straining far too much. The target heart rate you should be aiming for is a 50% to 85% increase of your resting heart rate. For example, say your heart rate is 70, a 50% increase would make your low target range to be 105 BPM. When you’re just starting out, you want to stick around the low end of your target heart rate and slowly increase to the higher range. Slowly work up to a 70% increase and be wary that only seasoned fitness fanatics should attempt to go above a 75% increase of their resting heart rate.
Now that you know how to calculate your target heart rate, it’s time for you to reach that zone. Buy some of our commercial grade fitness equipment that can keep track of your heart rate and help you enter the optimal fat burning zone!