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What’s my target heart rate, and why should I care?

Apr 29, 2014

Billy Pratt
FT Avon

"Your target heart rate is the number of times your heart should beat in one minute while pursuing an activity.  The target range is very individual, as it depends on the fitness level of the exerciser and what the purpose of that exercise session is.  Contacting a personal trainer for more information on how to determine what yours should be is a wise idea, as sticking to your particular cardiovascular exercise level can make or break how successful your regimen is in helping you attain your goals."

Bruce Kelly
FT Media

"I think the first issue is with establishing target heart rate. Any type of incremental treadmill test with a heart rate monitor will help with that. For example, warming up then starting at a 6% grade and 6-7 mph and increasing the grade and speed by 1% and 1 mph every minute will establish a max pretty quickly for most people. Err on the side of caution, though, so you don't have people flying off the back of the treadmill.

"Then establish your training zones off of that. I essentially like two zones -- low intensity and high intensity. Too many people spend too much time in the "no man's land" of the middle which is too hard to recover from and not hard enough to elicit any real training response. So think walking pace 60%-70% and sprinting pace 80% and above."

Billy Beyer
FT Basking Ridge

"One's target heart rate depends on the individual's goals, age and fitness level. You want to stay in between 55 to 85 percent of your max heart rate which is 220 minus your age. To high and you're straining yourself, too low and you aren't being efficient."

Malik Stevens
FT Central Georgetown

"A person’s target heart rate depends on that person age, fitness level, and goal as well as the activity at hand.  Essentially, the target heart rate is the amount of beats your heart produces while doing a specific activity.  As it pertains to exercise, there are typically three zones a person’s heart rate can be categorized into.  The first zone is when a person’s heart is working at 65-75% of its maximum work capacity.  New clients or people beginning a new exercise regimen should not exceed this zone until they have been properly assessed and have proven that they can be progressed to Zone 2 where they use 76%-85% of their heart’s max capacity or Zone 3, where they are then using 86%-95%.

"The heart’s maximum work capacity is generally found by subtracting a person’s age from 220.  Thus a 30-year-old client working in Zone 1 will need to have a target heart rate between 99 and 135 beats per minute.

"Target heart rate is important to know because it gives a person insight into whether or not they are actually challenging their cardiovascular system.  It also helps an individual gauge whether an activity is too strenuous to maintain.  Furthermore, tracking your heart rate also ensures greater levels of safety and success by offering a safe range to which we can compare our heart rate during exercise."


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