Regular exercise is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. For the average person, I would recommend exercising for 30-60 minutes at least 3 times per week. However, in order to benefit from exercise; it’s important that you raise your heart rate (number of times your heart beats per minute) for at least 15-20 minutes of your exercise.
How do you calculate your heart rate? And what should your heart rate be at to know that you’re working hard enough?
According to Michael Murray N.D. author of “Diabetes & Hypoglycemia;” everyone has a ‘training zone’ according to their age. This training zone is your minimum & maximum heart rate. In order to get a good workout; your heart rate should be within this zone for at least 15-20 minutes during exercise.
How to Calculate your Training Zone
Maximum heart rate: subtract your age from 185
Minimum heart rate: subtract 20 from your maximum heart rate
I’ll use myself as an example:
Max HR: 185 – 29 = 156
Min HR: 156 – 29 = 136
How to Find your Heart Rate
Place your index & middle fingers on the side of your neck, just below the angle of your jaw. Count your heart beat for 6 seconds, and than add a zero. I just counted my heart beat for 6 seconds and it was 7, which means my resting heart rate is 70. To put this into perspective; in his peak, Lance Armstrong had a resting HR of 32-34 beats per minute and a maximum heart rate of 201 bpm (Wikipedia) – wow. I think the highest I’ve ever got my HR was about 174, and it only lasted for a short time.
It’s important to do a combination of training; where sometimes you exercise for longer at the lower end of your training zone, and sometimes you exercise for a shorter period of time at the higher end of your training zone. This will improve your cardio, and also prevent the ‘exercise rut’ (doing the same exercises on the same days every week). You will see results faster if you constantly change up your exercises, and you won’t get bored with your workouts.
As I was looking for an image for this post I stumbled across one on lululemon’s website; advertising their running club. I like the image, but also want to point out that group running or group exercise is a great way to get in shape. The other people & instructors will push you to work harder, and you have a set time to meet so you’re less likely to cancel. Visit lululemon.com to find out about a running club near you!