First, subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate. Then multiply that number by .5, and then by .75. The two resulting numbers are the low and high end of your target heart rate.
Here's an example. Let's say someone is 45 years old. 220 minus 45 equal 175. That's their maximum heart rate. 175 x .5 = 88 and 175 x .75 = 131. So, a 45 year old has a target heart rate between 88 and 131.
So, in order to get the maximum out of your workout, you would want to keep these two numbers in mind. There is a simple way to monitor your heart rate by purchasing a heart rate monitor from one of your local sporting goods stores. When you purchase from a local store, they can answer any question that you may have and you'll reap the benefits. If you are currently a member of a gym, ask those professionals around you and they'll be glad to help you out.
If you decide to skip the high tech, you can take your own pulse either by placing two fingers on your wrist and count the beats for one minute or by your carotid artery in your neck (making sure not to press to hard) for the same length of time. If you're above your high number, slow down but if you're below your bottom number, you need to kick it up a gear.
Here is another question for you: Can you get in a fat-burning zone? According to Prevention back in 2004, this is a myth! It started with scientists reporting that during high intensity aerobic exercises, the body burned mostly stored carbohydrates for fuel, as opposed to burning stored fat.
Let's explain, you need to develop a different mind set. You need both high and low intensity exercises for an overall weight loss. On your days after a tough workout, you're body will need time to recoup and repair from that workout so, go with exercise but lower intensity and for a longer period of time. Your body will flush out lactic acid build up (that is why your muscles get sore) but at the same time, you'll reap the benefits of burning calories that are needed to in order to lose weight.
Bottom line, get out there and move that body for 30 minutes or more, 6 days a week. For a maximum of one to two pounds of weight loss each week, simply cut out 500 calories per day and workout.
I know it sounds simple but it is! Good luck and keep us posted here at FitDay on your progress. You can do it!
Michele Batz is a 30-year veteran in the physical education field, with a master's and PhD in holistic nutrition and a master's in Administration. She's been a Fitness writer for the past 7 years to help motivate not just in the physical sense but also the creative. The arts with movement is an element she is working on in her classes and with the help of CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Children's Health) to combine all elements of leading a healthy, active life. CATCH involves the whole school community, physical education teachers, classroom teachers, cafeteria, parents and the community. This is a wonderful way to educate our youth to fight children's obesity. Michele enjoys her life with her husband and son, living in Illinois. Visit her blog at mbatz.blogspot.com.