Zone 2 exercise is low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio.
Zone 2 typically corresponds to around 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. This range may vary slightly depending on individual factors such as age and fitness level. The goal of Zone 2 exercise is to improve aerobic capacity, build endurance, and enhance the body’s ability to utilize fat as a fuel source.
During Zone 2 exercise, you should be able to maintain a conversation without much difficulty. Examples of Zone 2 activities include long-distance running, cycling at a moderate pace, swimming, brisk walking, and other activities that elevate your heart rate while still allowing you to maintain a steady effort.
Here is a how-to guide
- Choose an activity: Select an aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, swimming, rowing, or any other activity that elevates your heart rate. It should be an activity you enjoy and can sustain for an extended period.
- Determine your target heart rate: Calculate your Zone 2 heart rate range based on your maximum heart rate (MHR) and the desired percentage range (usually 60-70%). The commonly used formula to estimate MHR is 220 minus your age. For example, if you are 30 years old, your estimated MHR would be 190 beats per minute (bpm). Your Zone 2 range would then be 60-70% of 190 bpm.
- Monitor your heart rate: Use a heart rate monitor or wearable fitness tracker to keep track of your heart rate during exercise. This will help you stay within the desired Zone 2 range.
- Start at a moderate pace: Begin your workout at a pace that allows you to stay within your Zone 2 heart rate range. You should be able to maintain a conversation without much difficulty during this phase.
- Monitor your exertion level: Pay attention to your breathing and overall exertion level. You should feel challenged but still be able to sustain the exercise comfortably. Adjust your intensity if necessary to stay within the Zone 2 range.
- Duration: Aim for at least 10-30 minutes of continuous exercise in Zone 2. Start low if you are a beginner and over time gradually increase the duration as your fitness improves. Ideally you should aim for 45-60minutes.