Calculating Your Target Heart Rate
To determine the target heart rate zone in which you wish to train, you must first determine your predicted maximum heart rate. After determining your predicted maximum heart rate, you must determine the effective heart rate range for your specific cardiovascular goals. Your target heart rate training zone is 50% to 90% of your maximum heart rate. 60% of your maximum heart rate is the zone that burns fat, while 80% is for strengthening the cardiovascular system. This 60% to 80% range is the zone to stay in for maximum benefit.
Your target training zone heart rate can be calculated by using the following formula:
220 - (your age) = maximum heart rate
(maximum heart rate) x .6 = 60% of maximum heartbeats per minute
(maximum heart rate) x .8 = 80% of maximum heartbeats per minute
For someone who is 40 years old, their predicted target heart rate zone is calculated as follows:
220 – 40 = 180 (maximum heart rate)
180 x .6 = 108 beats per minute (60% of maximum)
180 X .8 = 144 beats per minute (80% of maximum)
Heart Rate and the Rate of Perceived Exertion
The Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), also known as the Borg Scale, was developed by Swedish physiologist G.A.V. Borg. This scale rates exercise intensity from 6 to 20 depending upon how you feel or the perception of your effort.
In addition to monitoring your heart rate to understand your target training zone, listening to your body during workouts also has a lot of advantages. There are more variables involved in how hard you should workout other than just heart rate. Your stress level, physical health, emotional health, temperature, humidity, the time of day, the last time you ate, and what you ate all contribute to the intensity at which you should workout.
You can get an approximate heart rate level for each rating by simply adding a zero to each rating. For example, a rating of 12 will result in an approximate heart rate of 120 beats per minute. Your RPE will vary depending on stress, temperature, diet, etc. If your body is strong and rested, you will feel strong and your pace will feel comfortable. When your body is in this condition, you are able to train harder and your RPE will support this. If you are feeling tired and sluggish, it is because your body needs a break. In this condition, your pace will feel difficult. Again, this will show up in your RPE and you will train at the proper level for that day.