Sunday, January 25, 2009

Numbers: Target Heart Rate

We humans communicate with symbols, either numeric or alpha. Exercisers are infatuated with numbers. We count steps taken, calories burned, distances traveled, minutes worked, and heaviness of exercise load. Recall the importance of 10,000 steps a day from an earlier post. As to work-out numbers, my exercise bicycle provides digital numbers for load, time, calories, and distance. Better models also provide heart rate numbers. This article will address numbers related to heart rate. As an experienced MoneyWalker, I know with my brisk walking pace, I will elevate my heart rate to my so-called walking “Target Heart Rate,” about 100 to 120 beats per minute. My resting heart rate is about 70. To lose or maintain weight loss, the goal of MoneyWalkers, we must elevate our heart rate from our resting heart rate so as to get a “training effect.” More on the so-called “training effect” in a later post. Exercise physiologists suggest that, at a minimum, we must exercise with an elevated heart rate for 8 to 12 minutes in order to get a training effect. Brisk walking requires much more time than jogging or swimming to gain the weight loss benefits. Beginners should strive for a 30 minute walk with a goal of one hour. To monitor the effectiveness of your walk, you will want to know two numbers, your resting heart rate and your exercise target heart rate. The Bellaonline blog, provides a calculator for determining your beginning and intermediate target heart rate. I have, for my age group, a very low and healthy resting heart rate, between 65 and 70. To determine your resting heart rate, locate with your off-hand the pulse from an artery of your dominant wrist. Once located, count the pulse beats for 15 seconds, add one to the number and multiply by 4. This gives you a resting beats-per-minute heart rate. To find your target heart rate, the formula is 220 minus your age. Thus I subtract my age, 66, from 220 and derive 154. To obtain my beginning target heart rate, I multiply 154 x .60 and derive 92 beats per minute as my beginning exercise target heart rate. To obtain my intermediate target heart rate, I multiply 154 x .80 and derive 123 as my intermediate target heart rate. When I walk, my goal is to maintain an elevated heart rate of 120 for the one hour walk. Numbers are important for a MoneyWalker, especially the target heart rate.

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