Ocnutrition’s Blog

Aerobic Exercise…Maximizing the Benefits
December 3, 2010, 3:06 am
Filed under: Exercise, Heart Health, Weight Management

We all know about aerobic exercise, but are we doing all we can to maximize our effort?  Here are some facts and reminders in regards to aerobic exercise (also known as “cardio”)…

Let’s start off by talking about one of the most important factors related to cardio, your heart rate.  First you need to determine your maximum heart rate which can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220.  You can then calculate different percentages of your max to achieve a desired work level.  For example, if someone is 20 years old they have a max heart rate of approximately 200.  To find 60% of their max they would multiply .60 by 200 which results in 120.  The optimal range for aerobic exercise is 60% to 85% of the max heart rate.  If you are new to aerobic training, start at the lower level (60-70%).  If you would like to achieve a higher level of aerobic fitness, train at the higher level (75-85%).  You may have heard that the lower heart rate levels burn a higher percentage of fat and the higher levels burn a higher percentage of carbohydrate.  This is true but remember in order to lose weight you need to burn calories and a calorie is a calorie whether it’s fat or carbohydrate.  The higher the intensity the more calories you burn!

Now let’s talk about how much time should be spent doing cardio.  The recommendation is 5-7 days per week for a minimum of 30 minutes.  This is for heart health and good aerobic fitness.  If your goal is weight loss you should do 5-7 days per week for a minimum of 60 minutes!  You’ll be happy to hear that this activity doesn’t have to be done all at once.  The 30-60 minutes can be split into sessions as small as 10 minutes. 

What type of activity should you do?  That is primarily based on personal preference.  The only requirement is that the exercise work the large muscle groups (legs, chest, back) in a rhythmic fashion while keep your heart rate between 60-85% of your max for the entire session.  You can walk, run, swim, bike, stair climb, row, or whatever activity you enjoy.  To help prevent repetitive use injuries it is best to alternate between different types of activity. 

Go ahead; reap the benefits of aerobic exercise!

This information was brought to you by Just for the Health of It, a state-of-the-art personal training and yoga studio in the heart of Orange.  For more information please contact:

Diane McConahay, B.S.
Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor
(714) 639-0494