Posts Tagged 'Heart Rate'

Get Your Heart Pumping

Kettle Bell Beside Adidas Pair of Shoes

I hope you have all started moving for the Go Move challenge. If not, there is still time, the challenge is taking place throughout the month of February. Get started today, and recruit your friends and colleagues to move with you! Moving is so important to our overall health, and especially necessary to keep our hearts in good shape.

And when it comes to your heart rate, just like exercising, eating right, or anything else, you need to find your sweet spot. One of those cliche sayings that actually holds so much merit is, “everything in moderation.” There is a point where we can exercise too much, there is a point where we could be exercising too little (or not at all). There is a point where we can eat too much of one thing, even if it is healthy. When it comes to all of these things, there is a target we should all be aiming for. And just like these other parallels, there is a target spot for where our heart rates should be at when resting, and when exercising. The key to all of these “sweet spots”, is that they are different for everybody. It all depends on your age, gender, and of course any health conditions. The neat part is that you can find out where your heart rate should be while resting, and exercising, and then monitor it to ensure you are reaching your targets. And with modern day gadgets, you can use a smart watch or a Fitbit, or similar tool to monitor it for you, and of course you still have the option to accomplish this the old-fashioned way as well.

So, it’s great to know what your target heart rate should be, and that you can reach it with exercise. But maybe you cannot bring yourself to exercise, or you dread every single one of your workouts, or you make excuses. Hey, if this sounds like you, I promise you are not alone. It is great to be able to say that we understand we need to get moving and get our heart rate up, but it’s a whole different story to actually want to do these things. I would like to offer some advice: find something you love to do. There are so many options to getting in some physical activity, so there is bound to be at least one workout out there for everybody. Do some experimenting to find what works for you. There are fitness studios and clubs popping up everywhere, go to a class! Register for Try It Night, February 13th from 4 pm to 6 pm, to test out 3 different classes in one night. And don’t be afraid to experiment, love your body so that your body will love you back.

And trust me when I say grab a buddy! A lot of times it is easier to stick to something new when you have someone else there to encourage you, after all, we are all in this together. Let’s all set out on a mission to get moving, find what we love, and get our heart pumping! Have a wonderful, productive, and active week, Marquette. Go move!

Alicia Diedrich

Program Design Basics for Aerobic Exercise

By Luke R. Garceau, MA, CSCS*D – The ability to design an aerobic exercise program is a valuable skill held by strength and conditioning professionals.  Properly designed aerobic exercise programs allow clients to achieve continual improvements in exercise economy and cardiovascular health.  Program design can be complicated, but also simplified through the manipulation of four program design variables: frequency, intensity, time and type.

Frequency – determining the number of days to exercise per week.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 5 days per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 3 days per week of vigorous-intensity exercise, or 3-5 days per week of a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise (2011).

Intensity – defining how ‘hard’ to work.  Generally speaking, higher exercise intensities are performed for shorter durations.  Exercise intensity is commonly monitored by calculating heart rate or using a rating of perceived exertion (Borg, 1982).  Heart rate can be assessed by a heart rate monitor (watch and chest strap) or palpation of the radial artery at the anterolateral location of the wrist (palm side below base of thumb).  Heart rate recommendations are usually given as a percentage of one’s maximal heart rate.  Maximal heart rates can be estimated by subtracting one’s age from 220 (ACSM, 2011).  Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) can also provide a measure of exercise intensity by providing a 6-20 rating from Borg’s RPE scale.  The scale was designed to emulate heart rate effects during exercise such that adding a “0” to each number on Borg’s RPE scale would be equivalent to their associated heart rate at that time.  The ACSM provides exercise intensity guidelines (as a percentage of heart rate maximum) for the following habitual physical activity levels (2011):

  • No habitual activity = 57-67% of heart rate max
  • Minimal physical activity = 64-74% of heart rate max
  • Sporadic physical activity = 74-84% of heart rate max
  • Habitual physical activity = 80-91% of heart rate max
  • High amounts of habitual activity = 84-94% of heart rate max

Time – determining the duration to exercise, on the days you exercise.  Generally speaking, one should schedule 20 – 60 minute of continuous or intermittent activity, depending on the exercise intensity.  Intermittent exercise bouts of at least 10 min may be accumulated throughout the day to reach the target duration.  The ACSM recommends the following exercise durations per day for the following habitual physical activity levels (2011):

  • No habitual activity = 20-30 min
  • Minimal physical activity = 30-60 min
  • Sporadic physical activity = 30-90 min
  • Habitual physical activity = 30-90 min
  • High amounts of habitual activity = 30-90 min

Type – determining the mode of exercise.  All should select rhythmical aerobic activities that can be maintained continuously and that involve large muscle groups.  Beginners are recommended to perform exercises which require minimal athletic skill (i.e., walking, leisure cycling, aqua-aerobics, etc.) (ACSM, 2011).  As one progresses, activities requiring more skill can be performed with more intensity (i.e., jogging, running, spinning, elliptical exercise, swimming, racquet sports, soccer, etc.) (ACSM, 2011).

Designing programs through the manipulation of frequency, intensity, time and type can also be referred to as the FITT Principle.  In addition to the FITT Principle, one should also incorporate progression of exercise.  Typically, only one program design variable is progressed at a time, and frequency, intensity or time is progressed no more than 10% each week.  Finally, please remember these are only recommendations, and one should seek clearance from their physician before beginning an aerobic program.  Happy training!

American College of Sports Medicine (2011), ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (8th ed.).  New York, NY: Lippincott William & Wilkins.

Borg, G. A. V. (1982). Psychological bases of physical exertion.  Med. Sci. Sports Exerc, 14, 377-381.


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