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Training With Heart Rate: Zone 1

Maybe you’ve been wearing a watch that tracks your heart rate.

Or maybe you’ve seen our videos or you’ve been reading our blogs about maximizing the results you get from your workouts. 🙂

A heart rate “zone” is a percentage of your max heart rate. Within each “zone”, your body is doing different things to meet the energy demands of that output.

Over the next few days, I’m going to share what each heart rate zone means; how often you should work out in that zone, and how we use that zone to maximize your results.

In heart rate Zone 1, you’re moving your body but not struggling. This is shopping, walking, or mowing the lawn. This is a good heart rate zone for active recovery, because increased blood flow will help with healing or moving waste out of your body. However, this zone isn’t a catalyst for long-term health benefits. This zone will help you recover from hard exercise but won’t keep you out of the hospital.

Think about Zone 1 as “active, but not exercise”. Many people find this zone relaxing. Some call it meditative.

For example, do you ever start cleaning your kitchen, and then just kinda get “in the zone” and just keep cleaning? You look up and an hour or the entire morning has flown by! I feel this way when I’m cutting the lawn or splitting wood. Time just doesn’t exist; your mind wanders; and you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end?

That’s classic Zone 1. Very valuable for your mental health (and having a clean kitchen!) but no real impact on your physical health.

Unfortunately, exercise guidelines from the government classify Zone 1 movement as exercise. While you’re moving in Zone 1, there’s too little intensity to change your fitness or health, even if you’re very unfit. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the level of exercise where real change starts to happen: zone 2.

Remember: when it comes to exercise, harder isn’t always better. “More” isn’t always better. Better is better–but anything is better than nothing.

Watch: Zone 1 video