Understanding Target Heart Rate In Exercise

Target Heart Rate Exercise

Our bodies have a mind of their own!  Our brains tend to like convenience and comfort.  However, if you are trying to make progress in your aerobic plan then understanding what the target heart rate really means and how do we know if we are in it would be important. If we continue to just stroll along and never move faster, change won’t happen.  While this can be challenging over the long term, working at a specific heart rate is necessary, especially as we age.

Aerobic capacity is the ability of the cardiopulmonary system to deliver blood and oxygen to active muscles and the ability of those muscles to use oxygen and energy substrates to perform work during maximal physical stress.  Aerobic capacity involves the interaction of four physiological functions carried out by various organs and tissues. This includes pulmonary respiration (lungs), central circulation (the heart and the nerve conduction to it and to the blood vessels), peripheral circulation (arteries, veins, and capillaries), and aerobic respiration (in muscle cell mitochondrial).

Aerobic capacity is most accurately measured through gas analysis to determine the maximal oxygen uptake. Or the total amount of oxygen the body is able to utilize per minute of physical activity. Most fitness trainers can provide the test and calculate this concept.

For people who are doing regular forms of exercise knowing the intensity is just as important.  How hard you are working to obtain cardiovascular improvement and other physiological improvements can be measured through a simple calculation to determine a target heart rate. This is also known as the training zone.

In order to find the rate that you should be working at use the factor number of 220.  Subtract your age.  For example 220 less 67 equals 153.  Then multiply that total by various percentages, such as 50%, 60%, 70% or 80%.  Unless you are an elite athlete don’t go higher then 85%.  You must be very well conditioned to even go that high.  Use supervision by a coach to monitor this. That total (220 less 67 equals 153 multiplied by the percentage of choice and capability) is your target heart rate.

Before special heart rate monitors became popular a person would have to slow down to take their pulse in order to determine the target heart rate or training zone. As you slow down so does your pulse.  Therefore this method isn’t accurate.  Many heart rate monitors made this much more convenient while keeping up the pace.  There are brands that provide a strap which goes around your chest (just under the breast) and a watch around your wrist.  This will pick up the heart beat by pressing a few buttons on the watch.  These are considered the most reliable.  Newer watches have been developed without the use of a chest band.