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Calculating Your Target Heart Rate

After reading the last paragraph, you may be feeling highly motivated to know how to calculate your heart rate. Most aerobics classes have a chart on the wall that gives heart rate ranges at different weights and ages (yes, age is a factor, so pay attention to it).

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Gender is also a factor: you will notice that the charts have separate information for men and for women. Usually, your instructor will make it easy for you by having you take a heart rate measurement two or three times in a workout, counting the number of beats per minute and comparing it with the wall chart that shows you percentages.

You can learn to calculate your heart rate, or you can buy a heart rate monitor that will doit for you, so you can concentrate on better things – like the well-fashioned baud of the good-looking individual in front of you.

To calculate your heart rate for aerobics without a chart, you will use a formula that can give you a heart rate range inside which your workout intensity should fall.

The formula range is 60-85%, but remember that we know the body burns fat best at 75%, so we’ll calculate all three.

220 minus your age, gives your heart rate maximum. Multiply by heart rate percentage (.6,.75 or .85) for range.

So, for a 35-year old woman, the formula would look like this:
at 60% maximum heart rate 220-35 * .60 = 111 per minute
at 75% maximum heart rate 220-35* .75 = 138.75 per minute
at 85% maximum heart rate 220-35* .85 = 157.25 per minute

To take a pulse reading while exercising, place your index and middle finger halfway down your neck on the side, about an inch-and-a-half below your jaw. Count beats for thirty seconds, then multiply by two to get a minute’s reading. In this case, we are aiming for 138 or 139 beats per minute , the optimal fat-burning range.

If you are quite out of shape, take this formula with a grain of salt: make your target heart rate 50-60% of maximum for the first coupe of weeks, then raise it gradually as you become more fit. At any time, if you are working very hard, too hard to speak, it doesn’t matter what your heart rate is, you need to slow down. Remember, everyone is different, so listen to your body and err on the side of caution when you are beginning a new exercise program. If you feel dizzy or sick, if you have problems catching your breath, you are working too hard and should slow down or even stop.

Continue reading the next aerobics article on the truth about weight charts

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