Jog within your target heart rate zone for maximum health benefits.
As with any aerobic workout, jogging accelerates respiration and heart rate. Ideally, you'll want to keep your heart rate within a safe and healthy target zone. Jogging at this rate of moderate intensity increases lung capacity, strengthens the cardiovascular system and burns off excess calories.
Measuring Your Heart Rate
There are two ways to measure your heart rate while jogging -- manually, or with a heart rate monitor. To check your pulse manually, place two fingers gently over the arteries on your inner wrist. Count the beats for 10 seconds. Then, multiply by six for the total beats per minute. Athletic heart monitors come in a wide variety of analog and digital styles, many of which resemble wristwatches. Heart rate monitors help you track and maintain a jogging pace that doesn't over- or under-exert your heart. By staying within your target heart rate range, you'll achieve maximum health and performance benefits.
Resting vs. Maximum Heart Rate
Your heart beats at its slowest, or resting, rate when you are totally relaxed and not exerting yourself physically. Measure your resting heart rate before you get out of bed in the morning -- it should be between 60 to 80 beats per minute, but could be lower if you exercise a lot, or higher if you're an older adult. During a high-intensity workout, your heart beats from 85 to 100 percent of its maximum rate. Steady-state jogging should never require this level of exertion. There's an easy, age-adjusted formula for figuring your maximum heart rate: 220 minus your age for men, or 226 minus your age for women. Other factors could impact your heart's maximum beats per minute. For example, blood pressure medication is intended to lower your heart rate. If you have any kind of heart condition, you should consult with your doctor to determine your individualized rate.
Target Heart Rate
Generally, your target heart rate when jogging should be somewhere between 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. For example, if you are 30 years old and male, you would subtract 30 from 220 to find your maximum heart rate of 190. Your target heart rate zone should be 95 to 161 beats per minute. If you're a new jogger, you'll want to keep your rate toward the lower end of the scale. As you become more accustomed to jogging, you can work your heart toward its top-level, maximum efficiency.
Setting the Pace
Experienced joggers and runners learn to pace themselves for their specific training routines and race distances, thus building stamina and endurance. If you're accustomed to long, easy jogs, strive to maintain 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. Some joggers prefer to break the monotony with short periods of fast sprinting -- do that and your heart rate will quickly accelerate to a range of 87 to 92 percent.