How Heart Rate Zones Can Make Your Workouts Better

Heart rate training entails maintaining your heart rate, measured in beats per minute (BPM), within a specific range for a set duration.

What Are Exercise Heart Rate Zones?

Heart rate zones are determined based on your maximum heart rate percentage. A straightforward way to determine your maximum heart rate is using the age-adjusted formula: subtract your age from 220.

However, experts now also advocate for the Karvonen formula, which considers your resting heart rate, providing a more personalized assessment of your exercise intensity.

This method offers a deeper insight into your body’s response to physical activity.

Heart rate zones illustrate the intensity of your workout by indicating how hard your heart is working to pump blood and meet the demands of your activity level. The higher your heart rate, the higher your heart rate zone, signifying increased exertion and effort from your body.

There are five heart rate zones, from zone 1 to zone 5.

  • Zone 1: From 60 to 70 percent of your maximum effort, this zone is perfect for warm-ups and cool-downs, where you feel very comfortable.
  • Zone 2: Between 70 and 80 percent, this zone is ideal for most of your training. It’s a relaxed effort level that still allows you to hold a conversation.
  • Zone 3: Ranging from 81 to 93 percent, this zone feels comfortably hard. You’ll only be able to speak in short, broken sentences.
  • Zone 4: From 94 to 100 percent, this zone is comparable to running at a 5K pace. It’s a very challenging effort level that you can sustain, but you’ll only be able to speak a few words at a time.
  • Zone 5: This zone can only be maintained for a few minutes, making conversation impossible.

How to Use HR Zones to Maximize Your Workouts

Start small and gradually increase the intensity to get the most out of your workouts. Whether boxing or exercising at home, mix up how hard you work each time. This helps your body get stronger over time.

Pay attention to how you feel during your workouts. If you need to take it easy, that’s okay. Heart rate zones can help you see how hard you’re working, but don’t worry too much about the numbers. Just use them to stay motivated and reach your fitness goals.

The Benefits of Heart Rate Training

The best thing about heart rate training is how it helps your heart get more muscular. It involves doing activities that make your heart beat faster, like running or cycling, which can make your heart healthier and lower your risk of diabetes.

The American Heart Association suggests doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of intense training.

However, only half of people do this much exercise, which is the least you should do. A study examined over 18 million workouts people did with their Apple Watches during the pandemic. It found that people with better heart health did about 200 minutes of exercise each week, while those with the best did over 300 minutes.

Which Exercise Zone Is Best For Losing Weight?

You might think pushing yourself hard is the key to shedding pounds, right? But actually, when your heart rate is high, your body uses carbs and protein, not fat, for energy. For weight loss and building strength, it’s better to exercise in zones where your body uses fat for fuel—zones 1 through 3.

This means working out at 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate for the best results. Also, lifting weights is important for losing fat because it boosts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories even when you’re not exercising.