Determine your heart rate by taking your pulse.

Determine your heart rate by taking your pulse.

Cardiac health is everything in this day and age and the best way to lose weight and keep your entire cardiovascular system in tip-top shape is to make sure that you are reaching your target heart rate when you exercise.

What is the Target Heart Rate?

The target heart rate (also known as the training heart rate in some countries) is a standard that is used to measure exercise intensity during such vigorous activities as rowing, running, cycling, swimming and skipping rope. Unless you can reach your target heart rate you are not likely to burn off calories while moving.  When you exercise you need to go into a state called the oxygen deficit so that your body will start using other sources of fuel – such as the fat in your body. If your heart rate is not up, your body simply will not do this.

There is no single standard number that determines a target heart rate, which is measured in beats per minute (bpm). It varies with each individual and it also has a lot to do with the age and the physical fitness of the person in the first place. Usually, it is defined as the range in which a person can achieve the most cardiovascular benefit from aerobic exercise without “overdoing” it.

Other than being a single figure, your target heart rate can also be configured as a high and low number. The recommended targeted heart rate zone for moderate activities like walking briskly, recreational swimming, mowing the lawn, biking or washing the floors is the use of 50 to 70% of the person’s maximum heart rate. However, this is not the type of activity that will necessarily cause you to lose a lot of pounds.

If you want to lose weight you need to participate in vigorous activity. The generally accepted target heart rate zone for vigorous-intensity physical activity is considered to be 70 to 85 percent of the maximum heart rate possible for an individual Examples of these intense activities are swimming laps, jogging, race walking, playing tennis, spinning, biking more than 10 mph, moving furniture, circuit training. If you can manage to perform these activities you should be able to burn about seven or more calories per minute. Obviously, it is a lot easier to burn fat if you participate in the more vigorous activities that elevate your heart rate.

How to Determine Your Target Zone and Maximum Heart Rate

How do you determine your maximum heart rate and target heart rate zone? It is easy. All it takes is a little bit of research.  The reason you need to do some homework is that it is determined by your age.Here is a handy calculator online that can help you figure out both from ACTIVE.

Interested in the math behind this? Once you know your maximum heart rate (for example the maximum heart rate of a 50-year-old would be 170 bpm) all you need to do is a little math.

First of all, multiply the MHR by 0.7 to get the figure that is the low range of your target heart rate zone. For example, the low range for a 50-year-old is 119 bpm (170 x 0.7).

Next, multiply the MHR by 0.85 to get the high range. For example, the maximum heart rate for a 50-year-old should not exceed a heart rate of 145 bpm (170 x 0.85).

Now all you have to do is exercise. To receive the maximum cardiovascular benefits you need to exercise for twenty minutes in the area of your target heart rate zone. For the example of the 50-year-old person we are using, his target heart rate must be between 145 bpm and 170 bpm.  Luckily figuring out whether or not you are exercising within this targeted heart rate zone has become so much easier thanks to technology. Many exercise machines have heart rate monitors built right into them.

If an electronic heart rate monitor is not available, it is easy enough to take your own pulse. You can manually check your heart rate by monitoring the radial pulse of one arm with the 3rd and 4th fingers of the opposite arm. You can also find your pulse by putting pressure on the carotid pulse on the side of your neck that is located just below the angle of the lower jaw. Once you find the pulse simply count the number of beats felt during a one-minute period of time to find out whether or not you are meeting your target heart rate during your exercise regimen.

For more information about your cardiovascular system to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at or calls our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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