Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone

What is your Target Heart Rate Zone and how do you know when you're in it? Actually, you can have a few different ones and each one provides benefits in terms of burning fat, calories and strengthening your cardiovascular system.

 You will learn about the warm-up, fat burning and cardio pulse rates  and how to reach each one during your workouts. You'll also find a great chart that will help you easily identify where your pulse rate needs to be lose weight and strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Understanding Your Target Heart Rate Zones

You may have heard about the “fat burning zone” and the “cardio zone” Which one is better for weight loss? The answer is both! Let’s take a closer look at each one and highlight the benefits. Ashley Mariott and Dr. Marc Paulsen provide a great description in their book, Dump Your Trainer. And please be sure the check with your doctor first to make sure that you are fit to begin an exercise program.

Warm-Up Zone – When your pulse rate stays within 50 to 60% of its maximum. This is the recommended range for those who are just beginning to exercise, especially because there is a low risk of injury.

You can expect to reduce your body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also reduces the risk of degenerative diseases. Eighty percent of the calories burned in this stage are from your body’s fat stores.

Fat Burning Zone - When your heart rate is 60 to 70% of its maximum level. Here you’ll be walking faster and exerting yourself more. You’ll still get all of the benefits of the warm-up zone, yet burning more calories. The amount of fat calories burned is 65 to 80%.

Cardio Zone – In this level, your heart rate is 70 to 80% of its maximum. You will strengthen your cardiovascular system and burn more calories than the previous two zones. Here, you’ll burn more muscle than in the other zones, which is good for fat burning.

And that's as far as you really want to take your heart rate. Exercising at a level of more than 85% is very strenuous and doesn't add many more benefits in terms of cardiovascular strengthening.

So, which is best? Truthfully, all three are important for weight loss and fitness. It is important to warm-up for five to ten minutes to prepare your body for exercise. And both the Fat Burning and Cardio Zones are also equally important.

Unless you really push yourself, you’ll most likely stay in the Fat Burning Zone. It’s okay to stay there for most of your workout. But it is important to get your heart rate into the Cardio Zone as well.

These bursts of increased intensity, which lead to a quicker heart beat, are great for burning more calories in a shorter time period.

And now, let's take a look at the Target Heart Rate Chart to find your specific target heart rate zone.

Target Heart Rate Chart

If you want to get a good aerobic workout, strengthen your heart and lungs and lose weight, you must bring your heart rate up to 60 to 80 percent of its maximum level, which is known as your target heart rate zone.

A heart rate below 60 percent of its maximum is not an aerobic workout and will not help you to get fit or lose weight. A rate above 80 percent of its maximum just isn’t a good idea!

Your heart rate (or resting pulse rate) is a measure of your overall physical condition. Simply put, the lower your resting pulse rate, the more efficient your heart is at pumping blood throughout your body.

Your heart will not last forever and if it has to work less, it will last longer.

Pulse rates vary greatly, but the average runs from 60 beats per minute to a 100 beats per minute.

A well-conditioned athlete can have a resting pulse rate as low as 40 beats per minute. The average resting pulse rate for women is between 75 and 90 beats per minute while the average for a man is between 70 and 85 beats per minute.

If you’re just beginning to exercise, keep your heart rate at the lower end, near 50 to 65% of its maximum. As you begin to feel comfortable exercising within this range, you can slowly intensify your workout so that your heart beat falls into the upper range of your zone, near 75 to 80%.

Your Next Steps Are:

Step 1: Take Your Pulse

Okay, now you know how fast your heart should be beating to burn the most fat and calories and strengthen your cardiovascular system, you need to know how to take your pulse. In other words, you need to know how to calculate your target heart rate.

Step 2: Increase Your Heart Rate

Interval walking is a great way to increase your heart rate and help you get into that Cardio Zone. Nearly all fitness professionals recommend interval training. Have a look at this article in which I explain everything there is to know about interval walking, and how to use it in your next walk.

A heart rate monitor is a great device that automatically tracks your pulse for you and lets you know if you are in your target heart rate zone.

Knowing your target heart rate zone will help you monitor your walking to ensure you are burning calories and giving your heart a great workout.

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