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.
Normally during exercise, the heart rate varies depending on the intensity. These changes can easily be measured using a radiotelemetry and continuous electocardiogram (ECG) recording. The target heart rate (THR) is the desired range of heart beats per minute that usually elicits the most benefit from working out. It is also known as the training heart rate. Recommendations for this range are dependent on age, gender, physical condition and one’s previous training.