Love is in the air – and for more reasons than the Valentine’s Day spirit. February is American Heart Month, and in recognition, we are promoting ways to incorporate heart rate training into your overall health and fitness goals. Calories and distance are both suitable metrics to measure your performance, but listening to your body and adjusting your effort will help improve your overall heart health. With cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in the United States, it’s time to start spreading the love, and listening to our hearts (during a workout, that is).
While training with heart rate, it’s not always about being the fastest. Whether your fitness goal is weight loss, maximizing performance or improving your overall health, heart rate training is the most effective way to track your intensity during a workout. Monitoring your heart rate is simple and will help guide you towards the right intensity at which to train.
Heart rate is measured by BPM (beats per minute) and is used to measure your fitness level and exercise intensity. Finding your target heart rate is simple. One way to estimate this measurement is to subtract your age from 220. Based on your target heart rate, find the zone that matches your fitness goals. There are five target heart rate zones that match specific fitness goals. To get the most out of your workout, whether it’s casual or intense, you need to stay within your target heart rate zone.
Zone 1 – EASY:
- 50-60% of Max HR
- Benefits: Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, ideal for low-intensity programs and recovery.
- Calorie Burn: 3-7 per minute.
Zone 2 – FAT BURN:
- 60-70% of Max HR
- Benefits: Recommended for weight loss and calorie burn, ideal for fitness beginners.
- Calorie Burn: 7-12 per minute.
Zone 3 – CARDIO:
- 70-80% of Max HR
- Benefits: Improve aerobic and cardio fitness, ideal for increasing endurance over long distances.
- Calorie Burn: 12-17 per minute.
Zone 4 – TRAINING:
- 80-90% of Max HR
- Benefits: Improve anaerobic fitness and muscle strength, ideal for athletes who are training and building muscle.
- Calorie Burn: 17-20 per minute.
Zone 5 – MAX EFFORT:
- 90-100% of Max HR
- Benefits: Improve maximum performance and speed, ideal for short bursts of intense activity.
- Calorie Burn: 20+ per minute.
With new heart rate analysis graphs available both online and on your mobile phone, you can monitor your heart rate during a workout, and after you finish. Our time series graphs will help you visualize workout trends and overall performance. You are able to view your minimum, maximum and average heart rate per workout including total time in each target heart rate zone. To avoid overtraining or undertraining, we recommend that you listen to your body and get to know your desired zone.
Now that you have the knowledge to get started, all you need is a device to read your heart rate. MapMyFitness is integrated with several different heart rate monitors to ensure you have the tools that work best for you. Shop for a new device, or learn how to pair your app with your heart rate monitor.