Using Your Target Heart Rate to Improve Your Fitness
Every time you move, you burn calories. In fact, even just sitting and breathing burns calories. The more you exert yourself, the more calories you burn. It takes a certain amount of calories just to perform normal body functions. However, using these calories to perform normal body functions will not lead to weight loss or improved health. You will need to exert yourself in some way physically in order to burn calories beyond the basic calories needed to function. Following this logic, you can see that walking around the block a few times will obviously burn more calories than sitting and reading.
When you exercise, one method you can use to help you burn the most calories is reaching and monitoring your target heart rate. Your target heart rate is defined as the point at which your heart rate has increased and you are burning the ideal amount of calories in your work out. Until your heart reaches its target rate, you are not maximizing your workout.
Your target heart rate has a low, mid and high range. To begin with, shoot for the low range – or 50% of your target heart rate. When you feel ready to work a little harder, aim to maintain your heart rate around the mid-range or 75%. This allows you to push yourself just hard enough to get a decent work out with an impressive number of calories burned for your effort.
Calculating your Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. The resulting number is 100% of your target heart rate or maximum heart rate.
Keep in mind that some medications, especially those for blood pressure, can keep you heart rate low. Check with your doctor to see if your target heart rate should be adjusted to compensate for any medical conditions or medicines you are taking.
In terms of fitness, the longer it takes you in your workout to reach your target heart rate, the more fit you are. Those who are out of shape will very quickly, after little exertion, hit their target heart rate. By shooting for your target heart rate in every work out, you are working your body in a measurable way that will improve your overall fitness.