Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heart Rate Zones

As discussed last week, heart rate monitoring is an important aspect so as to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of any cardio workout.
Heart rate can be manually measured by placing the index and middle finger on the radial artery, along the wrist, and counting the beats for 10 seconds. Multiplying the number by 6 gives you your heart rate in beats per minute (bpm). This is useful, since suspending the activity, for one whole minute, over and over again may be un-desirable and time-consuming.

Now as far as any cardio activity is concerned, there are four zones, as mentioned below –
Please note, as discussed last week, Maximum heart rate (MHR) = 220- age. And Target heart rate (THR), for any cardio activity is expressed as percentage of MHR.
Thus the zones are as follows -

THR < 50% of MHR = Light activity / General fitness zone
THR between 50% - 60% = Fat Loss / Weight Control zone
THR between 60% - 70% = Aerobic Conditioning Zone (generally used for advanced cardio performance)
THR between 70% - 80% = Carddio vascular performance zone (Also focussed on by athletes)

And THR > 80% to 85%, which is very near the Anaerobic threshold, is usually used for cardiovascular tests and evaluation, and is usually not used for training purposes, since maintaining the heart rate constantly in this zone, becomes tremendously difficult, due to the high intensity.

E.g, if you are planning to use any cardio machine, say Crosstrainer, then first calculate MHR. Next, assuming that you are aiming at weight control, calculate how much your THR (take THR = 60% MHR) must be. Begin exercising, and then regularly, say at every 15-20 min interval, measure your heart rate, using the method mentioned at start, and accordingly adjust your intensity, to maintain your heart rate in the desired zone!!!! It must be noted, that these percentages are approximate with slight deviations.

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