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Monday, December 22, 2014

Measuring and Increasing Your Fitness Level

Posted by William on June 15, 2011

If you are just beginning a physical activity routine, it can be fun to estimate your own level of fitness with a simple, self-administered walking test developed by the Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas. It’s also important to know the significance of your target heart rate and how it plays a role in determining your fitness level.

What is a “Target Heart Rate?”
Your target heart rate is the rate at which your heart should pump in order for it to become stronger. Your maximum heart rate can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220. Your target heart rate range is between 60% and 90% of this number. For you to gain aerobic benefit, you’ll need to get inside your target heart range and stay there for 15 or more minutes at a time. Doing this at least three days a week will help to improve your heart health.
Raising your heart rate (and keeping it there) also helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness, burns fat, and strengthens the heart muscle.

There are also guidelines for the duration, intensity, and frequency of the physical activity. These guidelines are different than those for losing weight.

Duration
Each session should last 15 to 60 minutes.

Intensity
Your heart rate should be between 60% to 90% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220.

*Note: since this is only one way of estimating your maximum heart rate, be sure to be aware of how hard you are breathing. You should not be gasping for air or feeling faint. Stop immediately if this happens.

Frequency
Exercise 3 to 5 times per week.

The Best Types of Activities for Cardiovascular Training
It takes vigorous activity, such as jogging, basketball, or biking, to reach your target zone for cardiovascular training. Do you need to do this much? Not if you want to lose weight and have a moderate level of physical fitness. But if you want the effect of “training,” the answer is yes.

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