Does heart rate training really improve my results?
Yes! Performing cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise in the proper heart rate zone can have a huge impact on your health and your weight. By challenging your body in the appropriate heart rate range, you maximize the health benefit.
How do I calculate my heart rate zone?
The best and most accurate way to determine your heart rate training zone is to have a VO2 max test performed by a professional. You can also determine your theoretical heart rate zone by using the Karvonen formula, which is done as follows:
1 - Determine your resting heart rate (RHR) by taking your pulse for a full
minute before you get out of bed in the morning.
2 - Determine your max heart rate (MHR): MHR = 220 - actual age
3 - Determine your heart rate reserve (HRR): HRR = MHR - RHR
4 - Determine your upper and lower percentages:
45-60% - Beginner, or lower level of fitness
65-75% - Average level of fitness
75-85% - Healthy (no chronic health conditions), high fitness level
5 - Determine your heart rate training zone:
Upper end = (Upper% x HRR) + RHR
Lower end = (Lower% x HRR) + RHR
After warming up for 5-10 minutes at a lower heart rate, just keep your heart rate between the upper end and lower end numbers.
To go to WebMD's heart rate zone calculator, click here.
Why bother training with weights?
A well-rounded exercise program includes aerobic training, strength training, flexibility training and nutrition. Each of these components provides its own benefits:
- Aerobic training: Regular aerobic workouts have numerous long-term benefits, including better cardiac function, weight loss, a stronger immune system, reduction in certain diseases (heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers) and improved mental health.
- Strength training: Obviously, strength training helps to tone and build muscles. Building muscle not only makes you look great, but also strengthens your bones and joints. However, along with building stronger muscles, several new studies confirm other benefits of mild-to-moderate resistance training, which include improved cardiovascular health due to reduced blood pressure, lower LDL (''bad'') cholesterol levels and higher HDL (''good'') cholesterol levels; improved processing of sugar, which could reduce the risk of developing diabetes; improved strength, gait and ability to perform activities of daily living among older adults with osteoarthritis; and reduced pain associated with osteoarthritis. Strength training also burns calories and speeds up your metabolism, helping with weight management.
- Flexibility training: Flexibility training is an often overlooked aspect of fitness. There are two major benefits of flexibility training: (1) Decreased risk of injury due to increased elasticity of soft tissues and reduction of muscular imbalances around joints; and (2) Less pain due to improved posture and movement, and less muscle tension, stress and fatigue. Studies have also shown that flexibility training can decrease post-exercise soreness, enhance muscle growth and increase speed and agility.
- Nutrition: Good nutrition habits help with weight management, and can help with prevention and management of disease.
Can food journaling really help me lose twice as much weight?
According to a recent study, food journaling can help you lose more than two times the weight of someone who doesn't write down their food intake! Click here to download an article about the benefits of food journaling and how to get started.
Is it OK to exercise when I have a chronic disease?
Chronic disease can cause a debilitating vicious cycle: lethargy leads to inactivity, which weakens muscles and worsens fatigue. But pushing yourself to exercise can break that insidious pattern.
A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise examined the effects of regular physical activity on people with cancer, diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, or depression. Across the board, researchers found that even a little exercise boosted energy and reduced fatigue. For example, heart-failure patients who rode a stationary bicycle and did step exercises a total of three hours a week reported substantial increases in energy. Cancer patients who cycled 15 minutes a day experienced smaller energy increases but still felt better than those who didn?t exercise.
Of course, it can be hard to start exercising if you feel tired or nauseated, but taking the first step may be enough: once you notice the extra energy, you?re likely to continue. Since the type and length of exercise will depend on your illness and treatment, consult your health professional first.
Articles - click on any article to open it:
Food Journaling for Weight Loss - details the benefits of food journaling (up to 2x the weight loss!), and provides some tips on getting started
Exercise and Osteoarthritis of the Knee - discusses the various types of exercise that can be helpful in managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee
Exercise, Illness and Chronic Disease - provides information on some recent research on the effects of exercise on various chronic conditions and diseases, including diabetes, arthritis, increased cholesterol, depression, heart disease and osteoporosis
Lower Back Health and Fitness - provides tips for maintaining and strong and healthy back
No Pain, No Gain? No Way! - provides guidelines to determine if workout-related pain requires a break in your exercise routine or medical intervention
The Walking Workout - 10 practical tips for getting maximum aerobic, strength, postural and conditioning benefits from your walking program
Mt. Bachelor Fitness Shop - Provides quality home and commercial fitness products
Natalie Perry Dressage - USDF gold medalist and fantastic Central Oregon dressage trainer
Active Balance - Integrative Veterinary Services, Taryn Yates, DVM - Fully mobile animal chiropractic and veterinary acupuncture services