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Aerobic Exercise
Exercise - aerobic exercise - aerobic activities - heart rate - exercise program

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Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic activity is an important addition to moderate-intensity exercise. Aerobic exercise is any extended activity that makes you breathe hard while using the large muscle groups at a regular, even pace. Aerobic activities help make your heart stronger and more efficient. They also use more calories than other activities. Some examples of aerobic activities include:

- Brisk walking
- Jogging
- Bicycling
- Swimming
- Aerobic dancing
- Racket sports
- Rowing
- Ice or roller skating
- Cross-country or downhill skiing
- Using aerobic equipment (i.e., treadmill, stationary bike)

To get the most health benefits from aerobic activity, you should exercise at a level strenuous enough to raise your heart rate to your target heart-rate zone.

Your target heart rate zone is 50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate (the fastest your heart can beat). To find your target zone, look for the category closest to your age in the chart below and read across the line. 

Example
If you are 35 years old, your target heart rate zone is 93-138 beats per minute.

Figure 1. Exercise heart-rate chart

Age

Target Heart Rate Zone
(50-75% of average maximum rate)

20-30

98-146 beats per min

31-40

93-138 beats per min

41-50

88-131 beats per min

51-60

83-123 beats per min

61+

78-116 beats per min

 

Check to see if you're in your ZONE
To see if you are exercising within your target heart rate zone, count the number of pulse beats at your wrist or neck for 15 seconds, then multiply by four to get the beats per minute. Your heart should be beating within your target heart rate zone. If your heart is beating faster than your target heart rate, you are exercising too hard and should slow down. If your heart is beating slower than your target heart rate, you should exercise a little harder.

Go easy!
When you begin your exercise program, aim for the lower part of your target zone (50 percent). As you get into better shape, slowly build up to the higher part of your target zone (75 percent). If exercising within your target zone seems too hard, exercise at a pace that is comfortable for you. You will find that, with time, you will feel more comfortable exercising and can slowly increase to your target zone. 

Even low to moderately intensive activity can help
Even low to moderately intensive activity can help lower the risk of heart disease. Examples of such activity are pleasure walking, stair climbing, gardening, yard work, moderate-to-heavy housework, dancing, and home exercise. To get heart benefits from these activities, do one or more of them every day.

 

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