Don’t Let Age, Define Your Fitness
The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go far beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you are also likely to enjoy these quality-of-life factors too.
Fewer joint and muscle pains
Greater ability to join in desired activities
Better regulation of bodily fluids and blood pressure
Reduced burden on your heart and circulatory system
Better sleep patterns
More effective metabolism of sugars and carbohydrates
Reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers
Your BMI is a good indicator of whether you’re at a healthy or unhealthy weight. Find your BMI and what it means with our handy BMI Calculator.
BMI stands for Body Mass Index
This is a numerical value of your weight in relation to your height. BMIs are good indicators of healthy or unhealthy weights for adult men and women, regardless of body frame size. A BMI of less than 25 kg/m² indicates a healthy weight. A BMI of less than 18.5 kg/m² is considered underweight. A BMI between 25 kg/m² and 29.9 kg/m² is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 kg/m² or higher indicates obesity. Excess weight increases the heart’s work. It also raises blood pressure and blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It can make diabetes more likely to develop, too. Losing as few as 10 pounds can lower your heart disease risk.
To calculate your BMI:
How do you get your heart rate on target?
When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough?
There’s a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bull’s eye. You do not want to over-exercise, and you want to make sure you get enough.
First Thing’s First
Before you learn how to calculate and monitor your target training heart rate, you have to know your resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it’s at rest.
It’s best to check it in the morning after you’ve had a good night’s sleep and before you get out of bed. The average resting heart rate is 60-80 beats per minute, but it’s usually lower for physically fit people. It also rises with age.
Hitttin’ the Target
Now you’re ready to determine your target training heart rate. As you exercise, periodically:
Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist.
Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute. You want to stay between 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This range is your target heart rate.
Know Your Numbers
The table below shows estimated target heart rates for different ages. In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures are averages, so use them as general guidelines.
|AGE||Target HR Zone 50-85%||
Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
|20 yrs||100-170 beats per minute||200 beats per minute|
|30 yrs||95-162 beats per minute||190 beats per minute|
|35 yrs||93-157 beats per minute||185 beats per minute|
|40 yrs||90-153 beats per minute||180 beats per minute|
|45 yrs||88-149 beats per minute||175 beats per minute|
|50 yrs||85-145 beats per minute||170 beats per minute|
|55 yrs||83-140 beats per minute||165 beats per minute|
|60 yrs||80-136 beats per minute||160 beats per minute|
|65 yrs||78-132 beats per minute||155 beats per minute|
|70||75-128 beats per minute||150 beats per minute|
|75||73-125 beats per minute||145 beats per minute|
|80||69-121 beats per minute||140 beats per minute|
Important Note: A few high blood pressure medications lower the maximum heart rate and thus the target zone rate. If you’re taking such medicine, call your physician to find out if you need to use a lower target heart rate.
So what’s in a number?
If your target heart rate is too high, you’re straining. So slow down. If it’s too low, and the intensity feels “light” or “moderate/brisk,” push yourself to exercise a little harder. During the first few weeks of working out, aim for the lowest part of your target zone (50 percent). Then, gradually build up to the higher part (85 percent). After six months or more, you may be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. But you don’t have to exercise that hard to stay in shape.
“It’s not an absolute, but it’s a good tool to have,” And if you don’t know it, remember, if you’re not able to carry on a conversation (while exercising), that may be a bit too much.”
If you have a heart condition or you’re in cardiac rehab, talk to a healthcare professional about what exercises you can engage in, what your target heart rate should be and whether you need to be monitored during physical activity. This will also help you to choose the types of physical activity that are appropriate for your current fitness level and health goals, because some activities are safer than others.