Heart-rate training can help you track calories burned in each workout
Credit: David Martinez

Training according to your heart-rate zones is not only good for your waistline, but good for your heart and the rest of your body, too. Calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR), then keep your walk in line with the five heart-rate zones at right. Wearing a heart rate monitor, a device containing a chest strap that transmits your heart rate to a monitor worn on your wrist, can help gauge your levels. For an efficient workout, warm up for five minutes, then walk in at least your fitness zone for 30 minutes, five to seven days a week. Incorporate interval training (where you walk in the aerobic zone or higher) two days a week. Rest a day between each interval session.

Calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR)
220 - your age = MHR
Example for 45-year-old woman:
220 - 45 = 175 MHR
175 x .6 = 105
175 x .7 = 122.5
Her fitness zone is between 105 and 122 heartbeats per minute.

Heart rate zones

Zone: Healthy heart
Percent of MHR: 50 to 60%
Benefit: Lowers body fat, blood pressure, and cholesterol; reduces risk of degenerative diseases

Zone: Fitness
Percent of MHR: 60 to 70%
Benefit: Strengthens heart and improves muscles' ability to use oxygen

Zone: Aerobic
Percent of MHR: 70 to 80%
Benefit: Increases muscle's ability to transport oxygen to muscles and remove carbon dioxide; strengthens muscles

Zone: Anaerobic
Percent of MHR: 80 to 90% Benefit: Trains muscles to remove lactic acid, yielding a better performance over time

Zone: Redline
Percent of MHR: 90 to 100% Benefit: Helps to increase speed