You've heard it so many times before about getting your heart rate within your target heart range while doing your aerobic exercise routine could help you have aerobic heart health.

And you're willing to do your part, but what is your target heart range, why is it important, and how do you calculate it?  This can be frustrating and something you'd like to skip, when all you want to do is just start exercising so you can lose weight and get your shapely legs.

Let me start off by telling you why it's so important to know what your target heart range is and why it's important to your leg exercises routine.

What is your target heart range?

Your target heart range is made up of a lower and a higher percent number of the maximum rate your exercising heart rate should be working while exercising. It is suggested that when you are doing an exercise program that you stay within 55 to 85 percent range of your maximum target heart rate.

This rate is a specific number, the maximum number of contractions per minute that your heart can make- or the highest number of times a heart can beat in a minute of exercising - expressed as beats per minute. To get the most benefit, from your leg exercises, like providing increased oxygen to your muscles, you should always work within your Target range sometimes referred to as your Zone.

When starting out you should gradually build up to working in your target heart range.

Calculating your maximum target heart rate is Simple.

To calculate your maximum rate simply take 220 and subtract your age. That gives you the "Do Not Exceed Maximum Heart Rate" for your age. It is recommended that you do not exceed this number while exercising, for reasons I outline below.

This is the easiest way to calculate your maximum rate. Keep in mind that as you age this should decrease because our heart tends to beat at a slower pace the older we get. To figure your lower and higher number of your Target heart range, simply take your maximum rate and multiply it by 55% to get your lower number and 85% to get your higher number. As long as you work within this range, you will not have to worry about exceeding your maximum rate.

Go to my Fitness Level page for more detail on calculating your Target heart range.

220 - Your age = Maximum Heart Rate
Maximum Rate X 55% = lower number
Maximum Rate X 85% = higher number

Example: for someone 30 years old
220 - 30 = 190 (Max Heart Rate)
190 X 55% = 105 (min. in range)
190 X 85% = 162 (max. in range)

Why is your target heart range important?

One reason is that monitoring your heart rate is the best way to measure your initial fitness level and monitoring your progress during your exercise program. But probably the most important reason is that if you are working within your target heart range, you not only are burning a lot of calories, you are supplying much needed blood to your muscles which carry oxygen.

Muscles require more energy when they are active during exercise. If you don't get enough oxygen, your muscles will not be able to fully break down available glucose and they will become fatigued and produce lactic acid which causes soreness.

How much oxygen your muscles use depends on getting blood to the muscles and extracting oxygen from the blood into the muscle tissue. Your working muscles can take oxygen out of the blood at least 3 times faster than your resting muscles. So not only is your target heart range important for monitoring your heart rate and burning a lot of calories, it is also essential for building and protecting your heart and your muscles.
What can happen if I exceed my target heart range during exercise?

You get no added exercise benefits from exceeding your target heart range. If you exceed your target heart range you are probably working too hard and risk injury to your tendons and muscles in your legs (orthopaedic injury) and even risk tearing down your heart muscles (cardiovascular injury).

If you want to get the maximum benefit from your Leg exercise routine, work within your target heart range, and work consistently. Keep at your exercise routine and have patience.

Working within the upper half of your target heart range is very important and is known as a high intensity workout. While low intensity will still get you results, it will just take a little longer than higher intensity workouts. High intensity - which is exercises that push your heart rate up to 70-85% of its maximum - gives the greatest benefits for the following reasons:

1.      increases metabolism;

2.      burns more calories;

3.      provides more blood and oxygen to muscles and the heart; and

4.      burns up to 9 times more fat per calorie.

If you don't want to spend a lot of time exercising and your fitness level will allow it, you can get more results in a shorter amount of time by increasing the intensity of your workout. However again, gradually build up to high intensity workouts if you are in the Beginner Level and haven't worked out in a while.

Now that you understand why working within your target heart range is so important, and you visited Fitness Level to figure out what level you should work in based on your current health - your next step is to pick your Intensity Level.

Does the fitness Level you've chosen put you in my Beginner, Intermediate, or Advance intensity levels? This helps determine the exercises you should do to get your great legs.

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