Target Heart Rate
Here is my disclaimer. Before you start any exercise regimen, especially if you haven’t worked out in awhile, see your Doctor.
As I’ve stated in other blogs, I graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. When I was in College in the 1980’s (I know, I’m getting older), and being at a Military College, we knew nothing about our Target Heart Rate. We basically just worked out until the workout was over in the gym or we just ran a certain distance at a certain time. We were young and it really didn’t matter what our “Target Heart Rate” was. It was just a matter of getting out there and getting it done. We would go for a 30 minute run or a 4 mile run, or whatever it was that we were doing and when it was over it was over. We were in our late teens and early 20’s so, no one paid attention to Heart Rates. We also didn’t care if we were training for the aerobic zone, or optimal performance, or fat burning or whatever else. The goal was just to get done without puking, hopefully. But, I have to tell you, I did see my fair share of puking, especially when we had our PT (Physical Training) tests. The tests were done for grade and if you didn’t pass it, you were assigned to the “Jelly Roll Patrol” and had Remedial PT every afternoon. That was not a good thing to be on because of the ridicule that came with it as well as taking time away from valuable study time or precious free time.
Age and Performance with Heart Rate
Of course your heart can take more strain when you’re young. The older we get, the less strain we want to put on it. I keep telling my wife and kids that, but she doesn’t listen. Besides, stress doesn’t count as an Aerobic workout, I don’t think. So, my best advice is to listen to your body. I’ve been hanging out with Tony Horton and doing workouts with him live. He ALWAYS recommends a good heart rate monitor. If you need some suggestions, let me know and I can tell you which ones we use. Using a heart rate monitor will allow you to not exceed your maximum heart rate (some even alarm when you get to that point) and it will also calculate, with some degree of accuracy, the amount of calories you burn during a workout. In the absence of a heart rate monitor, Tony says you can use the number scale. A 1 would be you are sitting on the couch eating cupcakes and a 10 would be you are about to hurl. For the average person, you want to be in the 8 to 9 range for a good aerobic fat burning workout. Anything less than that and you’re “dogging it” and much above that and you won’t be able to perform for long and keep your heart rate up. It is also important that you determine what you are trying to accomplish. Are you doing activity just to keep your body moving or are you looking for peak athletic performance? The chart I posted shows your age along with your target heart rate for your anticipated purpose. Most “normal” people will not want to workout at peak performance activity, or at least not every day. So, even if you are doing intense programs like P90X or Insanity, you will want to watch your heart rate. That is the beauty of working out at home to a DVD. You can monitor it and pause it and take breaks as needed without any thought of ridicule with others in a “class” type situation. On the other hand, you will want to make sure you are holding yourself accountable. Working out with others makes you push yourself, so it really depends on your personality. Maybe you want a combination of both the gym and at home. The main thing is to do something!!
Interval Training and Heart Rate
Think back to the 70s and 80s and the jogging craze. People didn’t worry about a Target Heart Rate. People wanted to get in shape so they went out “running”. Running is fine for most people as long as the knees and ankles are protected. Most people keep their speed constant and just “go for a run”. They do the same thing if they are running on a treadmill. Studies, however, show more aerobic benefits as well as increased lung capacity and better heart function, as well as quicker recovery if interval training is incorporated into the workouts. Basically, interval training is simply getting the heart rate up to a high level, again depending on your goals, and then a slower “recovery” period to allow your heart to slow down some and then elevating it again. The amount of time at the elevated rate and the amount of the “recovery” time again depends on your purpose and goals. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has even become the “norm” among people who have limited time and want the best workout possible. It typically requires little if any equipment and has been proven to burn fat long after the workout is over. TurboFire is one of the Beachbody programs that incorporates HIIT training.
So, the bottom line with all of this is, know your goals, know your limits, pick a workout that is fun, incorporate some interval training and get some results. Of course you need to watch your nutrition, but if you just start your training slow and ramp it up, you will see results if you stay consistent.
A final disclaimer….if you become routinely nauseous, light headed or dizzy, or just don’t “feel right” during your workout, or if your heart rate stays elevated after a workout, you will want to see a Doctor. Let’s be safe, but let’s get in shape!!!