HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU'RE IN ZONE 2?
Zone 1 is pretty much watching Antiques Roadshow in a favourite armchair; Zone 5 is being chased by a pack of slavering rabid dogs.
Zone 2 is the place where your body is working, but not very hard. Technically this is 60-70 per cent of your maximum heart rate, but an easier way to check is the ‘talk test’. If you’re in Zone 2 you should be able to hold a fully realised conversation. You should be able to use complex sentences, not just sentiments such as ‘Help!’ or ‘Taxi!’.
The point at which you reach Zone 2 will depend on your individual level of fitness. For those who are at the extreme end of sedentary, simply moving about the house performing chores can be a Zone 2 workout. The important thing is to keep going and not stray up into the zones that will put more stress on the body. Each session needs to be sufficiently prolonged for the benefits to accrue. Experts recommend an hour to 90 minutes. The minimum time to feel the complete benefit of Zone 2 is 45 minutes. Research suggests less than this and you will not get the mitochondrial health you are hoping for. It also means letting go of the ‘personal best’ obsession, but when you do, the reward is a calming, life-enhancing hour of your life with a rich array of health benefits. Antiques Roadshow, it turns out, runs to just about optimal Zone 2 duration. The universe is sending us a message.