Zone Two Training: Cardiovascular Fitness is the Foundation for Longevity

Oct 18, 2023 | Fitness, Exercise, Wellness, Blog | 0 comments

When it comes to longevity and maintaining a high quality of life as we age, cardiovascular fitness is a critical component. Dr. Peter Attia, a renowned longevity expert and author of the book, Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity, emphasizes the importance of optimizing both our lifespan and our “healthspan.” In his comprehensive approach to health, he identifies five pillars: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep, Emotional Health, and Supplements. This post will delve deeper into the exercise component, specifically focusing on Zone Two Training.

Understanding Exercise Heart Rate Zones with the Karvonen Formula

To grasp the concept of Zone Two, it’s essential to understand exercise heart rate zones. These zones are ranges of heart rates that correspond to different levels of exercise intensity. The Karvonen formula offers a more personalized method compared to the traditional 220-age formula, as it takes into account both your maximum heart rate (MHR) and your resting heart rate (RHR).

Using the Karvonen formula, you can calculate your Target Heart Rate (THR) for any exercise intensity as:

THR = RHR + (MHR − RHR) × Intensity


  • MHR is typically estimated as 220−age. However, various methods, like stress tests, can determine it more accurately.
  • RHR is your resting heart rate, best measured first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.
  • Intensity is the percentage of heart rate reserve (the range between RHR and MHR) at which you aim to exercise.

For Zone Two Training, the intensity is usually between 60-70% of your heart rate reserve. This means you’re working at a moderate intensity, where you can still maintain a conversation without gasping for breath.

Example Calculation for an Average Female in her 40s:

Let’s assume:

  • Age: 45 years
  • Resting Heart Rate (RHR): 70 beats per minute (bpm)
      1. Calculate Maximum Heart Rate (MHR):
        MHR = 220 − 45 = 175bpm
      2. Calculate Target Heart Rate (THR) for 60% intensity:
        THR = 70 + (175 − 70) × 0.60 = 133 bpm
      3. Calculate Target Heart Rate (THR) for 70% intensity:
        THR = 70 + (175 − 70) × 0.70 = 143.5 bpm

So, for an average female in her 40s, the Target Heart Rate for Zone Two Training would range between 133 bpm and 143.5 bpm.

*It’s essential to note that these calculations are based on averages and estimations. For a more accurate and personalized assessment, individuals should consult with a fitness or medical professional and consider undergoing tests like a stress test to determine their actual MHR

Benefits of Zone Two Training

Zone Two Training is all about building a strong cardiovascular foundation. It enhances aerobic efficiency, positively impacts glucose control, and boosts metabolic health. Moreover, it’s a sustainable form of exercise that can be easily incorporated into one’s routine. Our Cardio Burn and Spin Psycle classes are designed to help you achieve and maintain this heart rate zone, ensuring you reap the full benefits of Zone Two Training.

Why Cardiovascular Fitness Matters

Cardiovascular fitness is a powerful predictor of longevity. Research has shown that improving cardiorespiratory fitness can reduce the risk of death due to all-cause mortality (ACM) by 2 times at the low end and up to 5 times at the high end. In comparison, risk factors like smoking and diabetes can increase the risk of ACM by 2-3 times. Simply put, a strong heart and lungs can significantly enhance the quality and length of your life.


Zone Two Training is a foundational component of a well-rounded exercise routine aimed at promoting longevity. By understanding your heart rate zones and incorporating Zone Two Training into your regimen, you’re taking a significant step towards optimizing your cardiovascular health. Stay tuned for our next post in this series, where we’ll dive into the exhilarating world of Zone Five Training!