To Your Health
July, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 07)
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Target Heart Rate and Training

For aerobic exercise, the recommended heart rate is 60-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is known as your target heart rate.

You should maintain this heart rate for about 30-40 minutes at least three times a week, working your way up to 5-6 days a week if possible. You also need to incorporate anaerobic training into your workouts; anything above 85 percent maximum heart rate constitutes anaerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercises usually involve short bursts of activity; weight training or sprints are good examples.

A Balanced Exercise Program

Here are some unconventional exercises that blur the line between aerobic and anaerobic. They involve short bursts of activity (anaerobic) but also sustained activity over a longer period of time (aerobic) compared to single-set, single-movement exercises, meaning you'll get a well-rounded workout to burn fat, build strength, tone your entire body and increase cardiovascular health, all at the same time.

Target Heart Rate for Aerobic Exercise
Age Beats/Minute
20-24 120-150
25-29 117-146
30-34 114-142
35-39 111-139
40-44 108-135
45-49 105-131
50-54 102-127
55-59 99-123
60-64 96-120
65-69 93-116
Above age 69 90-113
Timed Sets: Instead of performing a certain number of sets and reps, you complete as many repetitions of a particular activity as possible during a set time. For example: Jumping jacks for 1 minute; pushups for 45 seconds and squats for 1:30 minutes. Record your totals. Challenge yourself to increase the amount of reps and shorten or lengthen the time as you improve.

Density Training: Perform as many sets of 2-3 exercises as possible with in a time frame. For example: 10 pushups, 10 squats, 10 biceps curls, performed continuously for three minutes. You can adjust the length of time according to your fitness level, and choose any number/variety of continuous exercises for any number of reps.

Complexes: This are essentially a form of circuit training or super-setting using only one piece of equipment, one space and one load. For example: 15 stability ball squats, 15 stability ball crunches, 15 stability ball hamstring curls, 20 rubber-band biceps curls, 20 rubber-band shoulder presses, 20 rubber-band rows, done consecutively. (See Jeffrey Tucker's "Winning Without Weights" in the May issue for tips on how to perform these and other exercises using bands and balls.)

No matter which exercises you choose, the key is to add high-intensity, short-duration metabolic training to your workout, vary the intensities by changing methods of training, and every so often switch from high intensity, short duration to medium intensity, medium duration and low intensity, long duration. It's a great way to burn fat and build muscle, and it makes the journey we call fitness that much more challenging and rewarding.