The Difference in Heart Rate Target Zones Between Water Workouts Vs. Gym Workouts

Raising your heart rate during workouts in water is more difficult than raising your heart rate during workouts in the gym because water lowers your body temperature. When your body temperature drops, your heart rate and metabolism also decline. Medical centers such as the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago estimate the difference as 12 heartbeats per minute.

Significance

Heart rate target zones are significant because reaching them improves your fitness. Sedentary people who improve their fitness cut their chances of premature death during the next eight years by more than half, according to “Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program For Reversing Heart Disease.” Very intense exercise isn’t necessary. Walking 30 minutes daily has almost the same impact on longevity as running 40 miles weekly, writes Ornish. There are two caveats. First, exercising at such a low intensity level that your heart rate is below your target zone’s minimum number has no effect on your fitness. Secondly, exercising so intensely that your heart rate is above your target zone’s maximum number increases your risk of heart problems, according to “An Invitation to Health.”

Men’s Target Zones

Heart rate target zones depend on age and gender. The formula is 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate minus your age. However, men’s maximum heart rate is 220 heartbeats per minute, while women’s maximum heart rate is 225 heartbeats per minute. Consequently, 35-year-old men need to raise their heart rate to 111 to 157 heartbeats per minute while they’re exercising in gyms. Raising their heart rate to 99 to 145 heartbeats per minute while exercising in swimming pools has the same effect on fitness. Men’s heart rate target zones in heartbeats for minute for gym workouts are 102 to 145 at age 50 and 93 to 132 at age 65. Men’s target zones in water workouts are 90 to 133 at age 50, and 81 to 120 at age 65.

Women’s Target Zones

Women’s heart rate target zones are higher than men’s because their maximum heart rate is five heartbeats per minute higher. Women’s target zones in heartbeats for minute for gym workouts are 114 to 162 at age 35, 105 to 149 at age 50, and 96 to 136 at age 65. Women’s target zones in water workouts are 102 to 150 at age 35, 93 to 137 at age 50, and 84 to 124 at age 65.

Water’s Impact

Gym workouts are better for weight loss than water workouts during and after exercise because water keeps body temperatures lower for up to 18 hours, according to “Choosing the Right Exercise,” a Merck Manual Home Health Handbook report. Lower body temperatures keep heart rates and metabolism lower after exercise. Calories-burned charts show how heart rates affect weight. For example, swimming vigorously for one hour burns 704 calories in 155-pound people, while swimming moderately for one hour burns 281 calories, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Your heart rate is 70 to 89 percent of your maximum heart rate when you’re exercising vigorously and 55 to 69 percent of its maximum when you’re exercising moderately.

by Jay Schwartz, Demand Media

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