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Heart Rate - Where Should It Be?

Do a quick Web search on “fitness tracker” and you will be amazed at the number of choices. It’s a hot market, and just about everybody seems to be jumping on board. Wearable technology is everywhere. Strap a fitness tracker on your wrist and it can count your steps, track your sleep and of course measure your heart rate.

With all the different options on the market, it can be difficult to determine which fitness monitor is right for you. Well, we’ve got your back (and heart) covered. Enter the MyZone Heart Rate and Fitness Monitor. The MyZone is one of the only tools that will allow you to track your heart rate accurately. The MyZone monitors sell for $99 at each Axiom location, and if you decide you want to sign up for any of the Axiom Success Challenges, we’ll throw in a MyZone monitor with the registration.

So as you’re tracking all those numbers, where exactly should your heart rate be? Obviously, that depends on what you are doing. When it comes to your fitness goals, understanding how to read those numbers and what’s best for your heart matters.

Just a quick forewarning, this will involve some math, but don’t worry. It shouldn’t be enough to make your heart race too much.

A couple things you should know before we get going:

1. RHR = Resting Heart Rate
It is important before even beginning to exercise to calculate where your resting heart rate (RHR) is. RHR should be calculated when your body is relaxed—when your heart is pumping the lowest amount of blood through your body due to low activity. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can locate your pulse at pulse points on your body such as your wrists, side of your neck, top of your feet, and inside of your elbows. An average RHR is usually between 60 to 100 beats per minute. A very fit individual’s RHR can sometimes be in between 40 to 60 beats per minute.

2. MHR = Maximum Heart Rate
The most standard technique of calculating your maximum heart rate (MHR) is taking 220 and subtracting your age. To get a more precise reading of your individual MHR, you can use the Karvonen formula: MHR - RHR x Heart Rate Zone + RHR.

3. THR = Target Heart Rate
To calculate the low end of your target heart rate (THR) range, multiply your MHR x 0.5. To calculate the high end of your THR range, multiply your MHR x 0.75. To gauge exercise intensity within the percent of maximum heart rate, remember these zones:

• 50% or less is in the warm-up and cool-down zone
• 50% to 65% is the fat-burning zone
• 65% to 85% is the target heart rate zone
• 85% to 100% is the anaerobic and high-intensity zone

Now that you know how to calculate your heart rate and understand where it should be, here are some workout tips to help you know what activities are in these zones.

• In the warm-up and cool-down zone, an athlete should be doing just that. Start and end with a nice stretch and a walk.

• The fat-burning zone is where athletes who are not in optimal condition may thrive. In this zone, you can take a recovery day from training or an easy day with a long walk. The fat burning zone doesn’t actually burn fat, it mostly decreases cholesterol and high blood pressure.

• The THR zone is where you start to burn fat and build muscle. This is the aerobic zone, also known as the cardio and endurance zone. It consists of high- to low-intensity workouts for extended periods of time with sufficient amounts of oxygen. Working out from 20 to 60 minutes in this zone will burn calories as well as carbohydrates.

• The final zone, the anaerobic zone, is for low-oxygen climates where the exercise is so intense it causes lactates to form inside your body. Extreme amounts of muscle can be gained through short high-intensity intervals of exercise from 1 to 5 minutes. This zone is designed for the most rigorous of athletes because it is highly demanding on the cardiovascular system. Many athletes use this zone for interval training, burning mostly carbohydrates.

Depending on your personal goals, there are many ways to stay active and explore the full range of heart rate zones. Swimming is a great escape from a hot day and ideal for building muscle and staying in the THR zone. However, be aware that your heart rate will be slower when swimming by 10 to 15 beats per minute because swimming increases strength in your cardiovascular system. Going for a hike or a climb? Hiking inclines is a great fat burner and can be beneficial for your cardiorespiratory system as well, but be aware that altitude will affect your heart rate. The higher the altitude, the higher your heart rate will be.

Interested in getting your hands on a MyZone monitor to start your heart rate tracking? Our next Axiom Success Challenge kicks off at the end of September, and all participants receive a MyZone Heart Rate Monitor with their registration! Don’t want to wait that long? Visit any Axiom club today to snag one.

If you ever have questions about proper exercise or what’s best for your heart, don’t hesitate to ask a certified personal trainer at Axiom.

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