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What You Need to Know About Your Target Heart Rate and Heart Rate Zones

Helen Bush

A heart rate monitor is a good tool to use to help make sure you avoid any unnecessary fitness injuries. It can monitor your heart rate to let you know when you have reached your target heart rate or let you know if you are pushing yourself too hard. However, many people who exercise do not use a heart rate monitor. They may not be aware of what a great fitness aid it is. It can aid you in maximizing the effects of your workout, help you reach your peak performance level and help you build your cardiovascular endurance. In order to properly use a heart rate monitor, you need to understand the different heart rate zones and know what your target heart rate should be.


The Basics

  • Maximum heart rate. This is the number of beats in a minute that your heart can maintain before it overloads. If it does overload, you can experience harmful side effects, such as a stroke or a heart attack. You can find your maximum heart rate by using this formula: 220 minus your age.

  • Target heart rate. This is your ideal heart rate that will give you the best results from your fitness routine. It will help encourage cardiovascular and muscular health and improve your endurance. You will be able to boost your fitness goals in this zone. The usual target heart rate depends on you age and is approximately 50 to 85% of your maximum heart rate.


Heart Rate Zones

  • Healthy-Living Conditioning. This is the basic level of heart rate training. It is on the low end of the heart rate spectrum. This zone will help encourage heart health and get you started on the right track to advance to higher heart rate zones. Usually this level is approximately from 45 to 60% off your maximum heart rate.

  • The Burn Zone. The Burn Zone gets its name from being the zone that enhances your body's  capability to burn fat. The more you exercise, the more you should train your body to achieve this zone in your workout to help maximize the calories you can burn. Usually this zone is approximately 55 to 75% of your maximum heart rate.

  • Conditioning Zone. The Conditioning Zone is ideal for improving aerobic endurance. You will be able to increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles within your heart, so that you and your heart are performing at their peak level. You can achieve this zone by performing at 70 to 85% of your maximum heart rate.

  • VO2 and Maximum-Effort Zone. This zone is reserved for participants that are being properly monitored and are most likely training for a professional competition, like the Olympics. This zone should only be performed in short segments to avoid any injuries and should always be overseen by someone with the right qualifications. You can achieve this zone by achieving 85 to 100% of your maximum heart rate.


    It is important to know your target heart rate and monitor your heart rate during your fitness routines. A heart rate monitor can be the perfect tool to aid you in getting the most out of your workouts and help you realize what your limits are. It can easily help you avoid the common mistake of pushing yourself too far, too soon. Many gyms now offer heart rate monitors as a free perk for using their gym, so it would be a great idea to check your local gyms and see which ones allow you to use their heart rate monitors while you workout. It could be a great deciding factor in choosing which gym you want to join.

Helen Bush
Helen Bush is a self employed fitness writer who works with many health and fitness blogs. At a young age she discovered her passion for fitness and encouraging others. Helen enjoys being active and loves working out. In her middle and high school years she played an active part in her school basketball teams. Now she loves to study and participate in dance to help her stay active and fit. Her main goal is to help motivate others and push them to reach their fitness goals.