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Published on July 18, 2017

woman taking her pulse

Know your target heart rate for an effective cardio workout and weight loss

Find out how to calculate your target heart rate and why knowing your numbers can increase your workout results for a healthy heart and weight loss.

How can you be sure you're getting an effective cardiovascular workout? Check your target heart rate. It's your prescription for a healthy heart fitness plan.

It's well known that exercise can help prevent and even reverse heart disease. Exercise can actually improve the mechanics of the heart muscle and make it stronger. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle can result in a thicker, noncompliant heart that can't easily pump as much blood.

The key is to exercise often and stay within a safe, but effective range. Push yourself too hard and you risk a cardiac event, especially if you have a history of heart disease. Don't push yourself enough and you won't get the full benefit of a good cardiovascular workout.

Know Your Zone
You can calculate your maximum target rate by subtracting your age from 220. Your target zone should be 60 to 85 percent of that figure. Here's an example:

Age: 45
Maximum Heart Rate: 175 (220 – 45)
Target Heart Rate: 105 to 149

There are also some ways to check your heart rate while working out. The most obvious is to take your pulse or to wear a heart monitor. You can also take the "talk test." If you can't carry on a conversation, you are probably working too hard.

You should feel a comfortable change in your breathing without feeling breathless. It's especially important for heart patients to watch this.

Commit to moderate aerobic exercise most days of the week for approximately 30 minutes (or for at least 10 minutes several times during the day).

If you are trying to lose weight, you also have to change your diet. Exercise alone won't take off the pounds.

Copyright 2017 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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