training heart rate zones

Posted on July 4, 2007


chakrasWe’ve covered resting heart rates, and you already know that when you work out, your heart rate increases. And you also know that when your heart rate increases too much, you need to slow it down. But what you may not know is, just exactly how hard your heart should be working in order for you to receive the benefits of exercise: your target heart rate for workouts.

Maybe you, like me, have read articles saying that housework burns calories. Maybe it does: how would I know? I never clean anything! But the fact is, if you’re already cleaning house and you’re still not fit, the housework you’re doing isn’t enough. Either you need to start painting the barn daily or you need to find a more intense workout.

Richard Simmons‘ gauge is whether or not your underwear is wet. What good is that to commandos, or numbers freaks?

Whatever your workout may be, from strolling to mountain running, you can gauge its effectiveness immediately and perfectly by checking your heart rate. This will give you the most customized workout experience, and let you know exactly the effect what you are doing is having on your own body. Don’t get distracted by people who say “if you’re not doing six minute miles, you’re not working hard enough” or “if you’re breaking a sweat, you need to cut it back.” Listen to your own body. Covert Bailey, the Fit or Fat guru, tells of a client he had who found that walking in place put her heartrate into the danger zone, so he started her out just bending her knees and that alone got her heart rate up to the proper training zone. Eventually, she was able to progress, gaining health and, equally importantly, avoiding injury, all along the way.

Also, please allow me to state unequivocally that the “Fat-Burning Zone” is a hoax. Yes, there is a certain range within you burn more calories from fat than from glucose products in the bloodstream, but within two hours after exercise the body has balanced itself out. Burning a calorie is burning a calorie, regardless of whether it comes from Snickers bars or brown rice. So add the Fat Burning Zone to the list of things you can forget about, along with how to achieve that perfect Eighties hairdo, how to perform the Hustle, and how to crank start a Model T.

Right click and save. Here’s your chart for the heart rate to shoot for when working out, regardless of age. If your workout puts you above the age-appropriate range and you’re not a trained athlete, ease up. If you’re not reaching your target with your usual workout, put the pedal to the metal and find the ability to reach a little farther. It’s in there somewhere.

Working Heart Rate Chart

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