Your Target Heart Rate Zone

Your Target Heart Rate ZoneI just started teaching exercise classes in the resort town I live. People from around the world take my classes while vacationing here. I was teaching a cardio dance class and said something like “ ok it’s time for us to get into your target heart rate zone”. To my great surprise, this comment was returned with a lot of blank faces and questions.

It seems that target heart rate; the very thing that makes cardio exercise so effective has been lost over recent years of emphasis on Strength training, Yoga and Pilates. Everyone used to know that in order to protect and build your heart muscle you need at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a day in your target heart zone.

But, how do I know I’m in my target heart zone? Well there’s a quick way, and a more accurate way. The quick way is to exercise just hard enough to be barely able to carry on a conversation while you work out. It’s easy and it works okay.

But wouldn’t you like to know once and for all how to find YOUR actual target heart rate zone? Good, because I’m going to show you how to calculate it according to your age and your resting heart rate. This is called the Karvonen formula named after its inventor, Dr. MJ Karvonen.

Based on his research, incorporating your individual resting heart rate, gives a more accurate target heart rate zone. Generally the lower the RHR the more fit the individual.

 So tomorrow, when you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed, find you pulse at the base of your wrist or side of your neck. Count your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply that number by 2.

Once you have your RHR, you are set. Get your calculator out and do the rest.

 Karvonen Formula

 220– Your Age =Your Max Heart Rate (Max HR)

 Max HR– Your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) =Your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)

 HRR X 60% +RHR = Low End of Your Target HR zone

HRR X 80% +RHR = High End of Your Target HR zone

Example: 50 Year old person

220 – 50 =170 Max HR

170 Max HR-60 RHR=110 HRR

110 HRR X 60%(66) + RHR (60) = 126 BPM Low End Target HR Zone

 110 HRR X 80%(88) + RHR (60) = 148 BPM High End Target HR Zone

 Target Heart Rate Zone 126 to 148 BPM

Once you work out your target heart rate zone, it’s easy to know if you are exercising within it. One quick way is to take your pulse for 6 seconds and multiple that number by 10. That’s how many beats per minute your heart is beating. Compare that to the range of your target heart zone and you’ll know if you’re over, under or in the right place.

The 21st century approach is to exercise with a heart rate monitor. A good basic one costs about $50. You’ll have the high tech assurance you’re exercising in your target heart rate zone.

In either case, you’ll learn what it feels like when you’re in and when you’re out, and its fun to know you’re in control.

For more info on at home exercise programs for women visit




Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter