Getting the Most Out of Your Workout

If you already exercise regularly at a moderate or intense level and you have checked with your doctor about any heart problems or other health risks, you can gain maximal cardiovascular benefits by walking 5 to 7 days a week for 30 to 45 minutes at your target heart rate. During exercise, your target heart rate should be between 70% and 85% of your maximum heart rate (in beats per minute).

To determine your maximum heart rate subtract your age from 220. Then determine your target heart rate by multiplying your maximum heart rate by 70% (0.70) and then by 85% (0.85).

If you're 70 years old, your calculations would look like this:

220 150 150

70 -----> × 0.70 ------> × 0.85

150 105 127.5

(maximum heart rate) (target heart rate)

While exercising, your target heart rate is between 105 and 128 beats per minute.

You can monitor your heart rate during exercise with an electronic heart rate monitor or by stopping to check your pulse at your wrist. You can count the beats for 60 seconds, or count them for 30 seconds and multiply by 2, to get your heart rate. Eventually, you will become familiar with what walking speed correlates with your target heart rate.

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