Training by Target Heart Rate
Exercising with a plan is always important, but knowing how hard to push yourself is almost as important in physical activity. Training by your heart rate is an accurate way to assess level of exertion and caloric burn, both factors of an effective workout. The Karvonen formula can help you determine your age predicted target heart rate.
First, you will need your resting heart rate. This can be found by placing 2 fingers on the thumb side of your wrist. Feel for the heart beat and count the number of beats (starting at zero) for 6 seconds, and multiply by 10. Then, take your age and subtract it from 220. This is your age predicted maximum heart rate, or the maximum number of times your heart can contract and pump blood to the working muscles. (i.e. 200 – 20 years old = 200 age predicted maximum heart rate). From here, you take your resting heart rate and subtract that from your age predicted maximum heart rate. (200 – 60 = 140 heart rate reserve). This number is your heart rate reserve, or the difference between your maximum heart rate and resting heart rate. It is important in making an effective training plan.
Finally, you should focus on working at anywhere from 60% - 85% of your heart rate reserve. So, you take that number, multiply it by .6, and then add your resting heart rate back on. Do this again for 85% of your heart rate reserve. (140 x .6 = 84 + 60 = 144 bpm) (140 x .8 = 172 bpm). So, your target heart rate zone is between 144 and 172 bpm. What this means is that the closer your work towards that 172 bpm, the less time you’ll be able to exert energy, and vice versa. But, obviously, the key to any successful workout is to listen to your body and begin to understand your limits!