Intensity of Your Exercise Programme
Exercising at the right intensity (or heart rate zone), is key to meeting your fitness goals. Some heart rate zones are more effective for burning fat, others are better for improving performance, whilst others still help improve stamina.
The advice below will help you determine the right heart rate zone to meet your exercise objectives, whilst a heart rate monitor will enable you to stay in it whilst you exercise.
There are two basic variables that determine individual training intensity. The first is your maximum heart rate and the second is your personal fitness goal. When these two factors are established, setting up your exercise programme is just a matter of doing some simple calculations to establish the required intensity, frequency and duration.
Determining Maximum Heart Rate
There are two ways to determine your maximum heat rate.
Through a treadmill test with a cardiologist or qualified exercise physiologist, and is the preferred method if you are more than 35 years old. If you are overweight or have a family history of heart disease it is essential that you consult a cardiologist.
Sedentary individuals use 220 minus your age to determine your approximate maximum.
If you exercise aerobically 3 or more times a week, use 205 minus half your age.
Establish Your Fitness Goal and set your exercise intensity as described here:
Intensity of Exercise
If you are a beginner with the goal of improving overall fitness, losing weight, or reducing stress, exercise in the healthy heart zone, which is 50 - 59 percent of your maximum heart rate.
If you already exercise regularly and would like to lose body fat, exercise in the fat burning zone which is 60 - 69 percent of maximum heart rate.
If your goal is to improve aerobic capacity or athletic performance, exercise in the aerobic zone which is 70 - 79 percent of maximum heat rate.
Competitive athletes may need to add interval training sessions during the week in the anaerobic threshold heart rate zone which is 80 - 89 percent of maximum. This high intensity exercise helps train muscles to handle lactic acid.
However, train sparingly at these upper limits. Exercising regularly at a heart rate intensity that is too high does not produce additional aerobic benefits and increases the possibility of an athletic injury. Interval training anaerobic threshold workouts require a high degree of fitness, and is not necessary for general fitness training.
Target Zone Chart
Once you determine your individual training zones, you can easily programme them into a Cardiosport monitor. A Cardiosport monitor will notify you with a beep if you are exercising above or below the pre-programmed zones. Some Cardiosport models record heart rate at selectable intervals. You can then evaluate your exercise after each session and adjust your intensity if needed. Recording heart rate also allows you to monitor your fitness improvements over time