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Training Heart Rates

Aerobic exercise increases endurance and helps your body use oxygen more effectively. It helps strengthen bones and muscles, but it is especially good for your heart and lungs. To benefit from aerobic exercise you need to keep your heart rate up during your workout. This means that you need to check your heart rate, or pulse, during your workout to see if you are on target.

First, you need to set a target heart rate for yourself so that you can make sure you are exercising hard enough to help your heart, yet easy enough so you can complete your workout safely. The key to good aerobic exercise is to maintain your target heart rate during your exercise for at least 20 minutes. You can also use your target heart rate to check your progress over time.

To figure out your target heart rate, you first need to figure out your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 220 minus 40, or 180 beats per minute.

Now that you've calculated your maximum heart rate, you can figure out your target heart rate. Your target heart rate is based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate. For aerobic activity, you need to try to keep your heart rate between 50 and 85% of your maximum heart rate. For example, if you are 40 years old your target heart rate range should be between 90 and 153 beats per minute.

During your exercise, you should check your pulse from time to time to see if you are within your target heart rate range. You do this by finding your pulse on the thumb side of your wrist or in your neck to the side of your Adam's apple. Using a clock or watch with a secondhand, count the number of heartbeats in 10 seconds. Multiply that number by 6 to get the number of heartbeats per minute. Some exercise machines will measure your heart rate for you when you put your hands on special sensors. You can also buy a heart rate monitor that you wear. If your heart rate is too fast then slow down. If your heart rate is below your target heart rate then you need to pick up your pace.

Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

HIA File diex4159.htm Release 13/2010

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