Raising your heart rate safely has benefits.
Knowing how to calculate your recovery, anaerobic and aerobic heart rate zones can help you to train more effectively, lose weight and build endurance. Generally speaking, your aerobic heart rate is when your heart is beating at 70 to 80 percent of its capacity. Training in this zone can help to improve your cardiovascular system and your body's ability to circulate oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.
How To Calculate Your Aerobic Zone
Your aerobic heart rate is a calculation involving your resting heart rate and your maximum heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the rate at which your heart beats when you are exerting zero effort. To calculate your own resting heart rate, lie down somewhere quiet and breathe normally. After 15 minutes, take your resting pulse rate by counting the beats per minute and use this number as your resting heart rate. To determine maximum heart rate, some athletes and sports professionals use a heart rate monitor, but a widely accepted calculation is simply to subtract your age from 220. For example, a 35-year-old would subtract 35 from 220 to arrive at 185.
Once you have the two figures, you can determine your aerobic, anaerobic and recovery zones for your training. Your aerobic zone is working at 70 to 80 percent of capacity. To calculate this zone, subtract your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate to arrive at your reserve heart rate. Next, take your reserve heart rate and multiply it by 70 percent to arrive at "A." Finally, take your resting heart rate and add "A." The resulting number is the heart rate you should attain to be training at 70 percent capacity. Repeat the same calculation for the higher end of the zone (80 percent) to find your aerobic heart-rate zone.
An Example Calculation
A 35 year old has calculated his resting heart rate at 65 and maximum heart rate at 185. The calculations he used to find his aerobic heart-rate zone are as follows. By subtracting 65 from 185, he arrived at 120. Next, he multiplied 120 by 70 percent to arrive at 84. Finally, he took his original resting heart rate, 65, and added 84 to equal 149, or his lower figure on the aerobic range. He repeated the same calculations from step two, multiplying 120 by 80 percent to arrive at 96. Then he took 96 and added 65 to arrive at 161, or the higher figure in his aerobic range. Thus, his ideal aerobic heart-rate zone is 149 to 161 beats per minute.
Changes and Monitoring
Your calculations should be used as a general guideline only. It is possible to undertake a stress test to have a more accurate assessment of your maximum heart rate. Over time, with regular training and as fitness improves, your resting heart rate may lower. This is generally considered to be a positive change but there are other factors that can influence your resting heart rate, like altitude and dehydration. If you are training regularly, it's a good idea to monitor your resting heart rate on a monthly basis to note changes and calculate any variations in your zones.