|Target Heart Rate 1: General Health - A great deal of research indicates that being active at 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate, consistently and for a total of 30 minutes on most days, reduces the risk of developing many chronic diseases. Low intensity activities like walking, gardening, household chores or easy cycling will achieve this. If someone does not need to lose body fat and they are not training for a sporting event, this may be all they need to do to stay healthy.
Target Heart Rate 2: Weight management - If your goal is to reduce body fat and you have been relatively inactive, you will need to train at a level of 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is still within your comfort zone and allows you to exercise at a steady pace for a long enough time to burn off a substantial number of calories.
Target Heart Rate 3: Aerobic Conditioning/Weight Management - If your goal is to improve your cardio-vascular conditioning for better stamina and endurance, you should train within a zone of 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is also a good zone for fat burning if you are already fairly fit. This heart rate zone represents a more vigorous level of activity.
Target Heart Rate 4: Advanced Conditioning - If you are in top shape and training for a sporting event like a 10km race, a triathlon or tennis, you might need to include some workouts that are 80 percent and above your maximum heart rate. This level of training is both physically and mentally demanding so it is not something you would do on a daily basis. And it is not for everyone. Only the real fit should consider working in the range. This zone is also a fat burning zone if you are extremely fit.
Remember that ideally, your exercise program will include workouts in each of these ranges - short and hard to long and easy.