Cardio might be pointless without this knowledge.

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Cardio might be pointless without this knowledge.

Only by monitoring your heart rate throughout an exercise can you be certain that the intensity is sufficient to raise your level of Cardiorespiratory fitness. The single most crucial factor in your success in cardio exercise is your capacity to track and understand your heart rate.
The intensity of the activity is the most crucial aspect of enhancing cardiorespiratory fitness (Cardio or CR). The intensity of an aerobic workout has a direct impact on changes in CR fitness. The greater the exercise intensity and energy expenditure per unit of time, the greater the impact on cardiorespiratory fitness.

To evaluate if an aerobic activity like jogging has a CR training effect or is simply burning calories, you must define what constitutes “hard.” When working out, your heart rate is a great gauge of how much effort you are putting in. You can only be certain that the intensity of a Cardio exercise is sufficient to raise your CR fitness level by monitoring your heart rate during it. In other words, the single most crucial factor in your success in CR training is your capacity to monitor your heart rate.

Exercise Intensity (DE) = Training Heart Rate (THR)

The target heart rate (THR) is the heart rate at which Cardio exercise will provide a training effect. The U.S. Army fitness experts have provided us with two ways to calculate THR. While the second approach, per cent heart rate reserve (%HRR), is more accurate, the first method, per cent maximum heart rate (%MHR), is easier to use.

%MHR Approach

Using this technique, the estimated maximum heart rate is used to calculate the THR. By deducting your age from 220, you may determine your maximum heart rate (MHR). Therefore, 200 beats per minute would be the projected maximum heart rate (MHR) for a 20-year-old (220 – 20 = 200).

A person in low physical condition should exercise at 70% of his MHR; a person in fair physical condition should exercise at 80% MHR; a person in great physical condition should exercise at 90% MHR.


The THR of a 20-year-old who is in good physical shape is 160 beats per minute (BPM). 220 – 20 = 200 * . 80 = 160 BPM.

THR for a 30-year-old in good physical shape would be 152 beats per minute (BPM). 220 – 30 = 190 * .80 = 152 BPM.

The THR of a 40-year-old who is not in good physical shape is 126 beats per minute (BPM). 220 – 40 = 180 * .70 = 126 BPM.

%HRR Formula

The %HRR approach to THR calculation is more precise. The THR range in which people should exercise to increase their CR fitness levels is between 60 and 90%HRR. Knowing your overall level of CR fitness can help you choose what percentage of HRR is a smart place to start.

with you. For instance, a person in great physical condition may begin at 85% of his HRR; if he is in fair physical health, at 70% HRR; and if he is in poor physical condition, at 60% HRR.

For the majority of Cardio exercises, the heart rate should be between 70 and 75 per cent HRR in order to achieve or maintain an optimal level of fitness. When working at a greater percentage of HRR, a person who has attained a high level of fitness may benefit more, especially if he cannot find more than 20 minutes for Cardio exercise.

Any HRR below 60% during exercise does not provide the heart, muscles, and lungs with a sufficient training stimulus. Exercise with a heart rate higher than 90% can be harmful. Anyone starting aerobic activity should be aware of their THR (the heart rate at which he needs to exercise to get a training effect).

The example below demonstrates how to calculate the THR using the age and resting heart rate (RHR) to determine the heart’s reserve (HRR). An example is a 20-year-old who is in generally decent physical condition.


Subtract your age from 220 to find the MHR. i.e. MHR = 220 – 20 = 200.


Count the resting pulse for 30 seconds, then multiply the count by two to get the resting heart rate (RHR) in beats per minute (BPM). Although a shorter time frame might be employed, a 30-second count is more precise. Take this count as soon as you are entirely at ease and rested. The RHR used in this example is 69 BPM.


Subtract the RHR from the estimated MHR to obtain the heart rate reserve (HRR). HRR = 200 – 69 = 131 BPM, for example.


To calculate THR, multiply the HRR by the percentage representing the relative fitness level, then add the result to the HRR. For instance, a 20-year-old who is in good physical shape will work out at 70% HRR.

(1) .70 * 131 = 91.7 (2) 91.7 + 69 = 160.7

In conclusion, the training heart rate (THR) target for a generally fit 20-year-old with a resting heart rate (RHR) of 69 BPM is 161 BPM.

After five minutes of aerobic activity, the heart rate will typically have stabilized and the body will have achieved a “Steady State.” You should check your heart rate to determine if it is within your ideal THR range now and just after you finish exercising.

You must work out more vigorously to raise your pulse to the THR if it is below the THR. If your pulse is higher than the target heart rate (THR), you should lower your intensity to bring it down to the THR target.

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