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Target Heart Rate

Make Sure You Work-Out In The Zone!

Research has shown that many people who do exercise aren't giving their heart the workout it needs. Almost half of those surveyed thought they exercised moderately, but in reality only 15% were exercising at what is considered a moderate level. Most were not even at 45 percent of maximum capacity. Granted, any exercise is better than none at all, but greater benefits can be derived by increasing your workout to a moderate level - about 55% of your heart rate capacity.

Light Intensity is considered between 50-60% of max.
This kind of exercise is easy, but still delivers some health benefits.
Moderate Intensity is 60-70% of max. At this level you can expect to improve your fitness level, build endurance and is recommended for weight loss. Here's where you begin to improve your cardiovascular health.
Heavy Intensity is 70-85%. Now you're working hard and strengthening your aerobic fitness.

The American Heart Association recommends an exercise Target Heart Range for most healthy people from 50-75%. Once you establish your Zone and reach that level you should maintain it for 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week for optimal benefits.

Determine your Target Heart Rate by subtracting your age from 220. This represents your Maximum Heart Rate. Now, multiply that number by the Intensity percentage level you have chosen. If you are 30 years of age and have decided to exercise at a Moderate Intensity level, your formula would look like this:

220 (-) 30 = 190 (x) .60 = 114 bpm (beats per minute)
220 (-) 30 = 190 (x) .70 = 133 bpm

Your Target "Zone" is between 114 and 133 beats per minute. Keep your pulse between these two numbers as you exercise.

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Now that you know your Target Heart Rate, check your pulse as you exercise. An easy way to do this is to check your heartbeats (pulse) for 10 seconds using your watch, then multiply that number by 6 to get your beats per minute.

You can measure your heartbeat in several ways:

  1. Place your first and second fingers (not your thumb) on the inside of your wrist or...
  2. On your neck, just below the angle of your jaw. Do not put too much pressure on the neck, because this may slow the heart down and be dangerous to some people with blockages of blood vessels in the neck.
  3. Place your open palm over your heart and count the number of beats.
  4. Purchase a battery operated Heart Rate Monitor from most retailers of sports equipment. Many styles and features are available at reasonable prices. These monitors will show you beats per minute as a digital number without the need to count heart beats.
  5. Precor Treadmills at Fitness USA - From the "course" selection menu on the control panel, choose "Heart Rate." Then set you target heart rate on the controls and the treadmill monitors your heart rate and automatically maintains it within a few beats per minute. You must hold onto the touch-sensitive electrode straps on the handrail while running for the machine to record the reading.

When you exercise, your body speeds up and so does your heart as it works to meet the increasing needs for oxygen and blood to muscles and organs. But how much speeding-up is safe for you? If you've been sedentary, consider the following and consult your doctor before starting an exercise program:

  1. Over 40 years of age and have not exercised in 5 years.
  2. If you smoke.
  3. If you have asthma.
  4. If you have high blood pressure.
  5. If you have high blood cholesterol.
  6. If you have a heart condition.
  7. If you have any signs or symptoms of any disease.
  8. If you are recovering from illness or surgery.
  9. If you have a pacemaker or other implanted electronic device.

Important Note: Medication, energy drinks, alcohol and nicotine can alter your heart rate. If you feel unexpected pain or excessive fatigue when exercising, stop or continue at a lower intensity.

Visit Fitness USA for more Information on Target Heart Rate and how you can maximize your time and effort during your workout. Fitness USA's Certified Fitness Trainers are always available to all members without additional fees. First time visitors over 18 are welcome for a FREE visit and consultation. Go to Locations for the center nearest you.

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