Many people hop on the treadmill and begin exercise with no other intention than to "workout." Some days, it is a huge success if you can actually make it to the gym and still have enough energy to workout. But for the days when you are more spirited and inspired to get a good workout, there is a secret weapon that few people know about or use: your own heart rate.This article is going to review two separate, but very related topics: Understanding your heart rate during exercise, and, how to get the most from your cardio workouts.
Understanding Your Heart Rate Your heart has a maximum rate that it can beat every minute. Surprising to some, this number is solely based on your age and can be determined by subtracting your age from the number 220. For example, if you are 47 years old, the theoretical maximum number of times your heart can beat in any minute is 173. This is considered your theoretical max heart rate because the only way to truly determine your real number is through scientific testing and a maximal cardiovascular stress test. Unless you are an athlete, there is no real need to seek out this test. When you determine your personal max heart rate (220 - your age), it is helpful to know that your actual number could be as much as 15 beats per minute higher or lower. Keep this mind as you apply the exercise approaches discussed later in this article. This is a basic equation that you can use to make your workouts much more effective. To take it one step further and customize your workouts even more precisely, it is important to take into consideration your current fitness level. Your heart is a muscle just like any other in your body. If you workout consistently and challenge your muscles, they get stronger and more efficient, right? Your heart does the same thing with consistent, effective cardiovascular exercise: it gets better and stronger at pumping blood. Therefore, a fit heart can pump more blood with each contraction, allowing it to pump fewer times in a minute. To get a sense of your current cardiovascular ability, determine your resting heart rate by counting the number of beats for one full minute. In healthy adults, a slower heart rate is one sign of a fit heart. A normal range for resting heart rates is 60-80 beats per minute. Elite athletes can have resting heart rates as low as 45 and Lance Armstrong's is reported to be around 35! Once you have determined your resting heart rate, you will incorporate it into the earlier equation, and use the result later in this article:
220 - your age - your resting heart rate = Your Number
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By Holly Perkins on Intent.com
Holly Perkins, B.S. is a Fitness Expert and Personal Trainer in Los Angeles. Holly holds a degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition from Penn State and has been actively involved in the industry for over 12 years. Holly is a member of NSCA (soon to be CSCS certified), is the newest Celebrity Trainer on ExerciseTV, and is the current fitness model for WeightWatchers.com. Holly's unique approach bridging diet, lifestyle and personalized training has helped celebrities, athletes, moms and even a 2008 Presidential Candidate. Holly can been seen on ExerciseTV.tv and through Time Warner On Demand Programming. Holly is in the process of opening the first of it's kind, LEED certified green gym in Los Angeles.
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