Target heart rate and conditioning your heart
|A heart rate monitor can help you condition your heart|
photo: Greg L
It can be confusing. What is all this business about target heart rate, and how do you really condition your heart? In reality, it is pretty simple. Here's the skinny:
Target heart rate:
Your target heart rate is the zone at which you can maximize heart conditioning without pushing yourself too hard, thereby creating injury. To figure out your heart rate zone:
- Subtract your age from 220 to calculate your maximum heart rate.
- e.g. 220-40= 180
- Figure 70 to 85 percent of the resulting number. (Multiply by .7 to .85)
- 180x.7=126, 180x.85=153
- Now you have the lower and upper limits of you target heart rate zone.
- THR= 126-153
Conditioning your heart:
In order to condition your heart, aim to stay within the target heart rate zone. Then, a couple times each week, try interval training. When interval training, do bursts of activity at 90% of your maximum heart rate. (In this example 90% of maximum heart rate is 162). Follow with recovery periods that are at 60% of your maximum (108). The result? A stronger heart that can sustain activity for longer periods of time. With two young kids to run after, I'll take that.