You get on the treadmill. You’re motivated. All around you people are jogging, running and walking… What do you do? Become a copycat?… No! Listen to your heart to exercise in your best training zone.
What your heart decides
When you exercise, your heart beats faster to supply oxygen and fuel to your muscles. Your heart rate (number of times your heart beats per minute) will increase as the intensity of your exercise increases to boost the supply.
As you train, your muscles need fuel to work harder. The harder you exercise the more fuel your muscles will need. Your body can use different fuel sources for different needs. During prolonged, low intensity exercise, your body mainly uses your fat stores for energy. During shorter, higher intensity exercise, glycogen and carbohydrates become your primary energy source.
Your exercise goal is important
It’s important to have a goal when exercising, such as increasing your fitness, losing fat, toning, increasing muscle strength, or managing your health condition. Your exercise intensity and heart rate will be relative to your exercise goal, which in turn will determine the fuel source you will use.
How to determine your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate
Resting heart rate: Find your pulse on your wrist first thing in the morning. Count the beats for 15 sec and multiply by 4. The value is your resting heart rate (beats/min.).
Maximum heart rate (MHR): MHR = 220 – (your age). For example, the MHR for a 54 year old person is 220 – 54 = 166 beats/min.
Target heart rate: The heart rate between your resting and maximum heart rate that would allow you to function at optimal capacity to achieve your specific exercise goal.
Training according to your target heart rate zone:
What heart rate zone is important for losing weight
You will burn a higher proportion of calories from fat when exercising at lower intensities (50 – 60% of MHR). However, if you exercise for the same period of time at a higher intensity (70-90% of your MHR), you will burn a greater number of total calories, which is more significant for losing weight.
By following these simple guidelines, you can train within a specific heart rate zone to optimally focus on your needs and achieve your training goals.
Photo by Mike Baird