We all heard recommendations urging to perform moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes three-to-five times per week.
So, the recommended duration and frequency appear to be relatively easy to comprehend. Right?
The problem lies with the definition of moderate, which can be quite different, for different people.
A well-trained athlete may be exercising in the moderate manner when running 5 miles in 30 minutes. At the same time to a novice exerciser who is very overweight, moderate could mean walking just one mile in those 30 minutes.
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) defines moderate intensity as 40 to 60 percent VO2 maximum. But, since most of us dont know how to determine our VO2 maximum, there are easier definitions to go by.
You can base VO2 loosely on your maximum target heart rate zone. A VO2 maximum of 40-60% equals about 50 to 70 percent of the maximum heart rate (MHR). And determining your MHR and the corresponding percent zones is a relatively simple process. Following is an easy calculation for determining your specific MHR and what 50-70 percent of it equates to.
Take 220 and subtract your age. This equals your MHR. For example: For a 40 year old the MHR is 180.
To determine your low range of 50 percent, simply take 180 and multiply it times 50 percent – for a 40 year old this would equal 90.
Finally, to determine your high range of 70 percent, simply take 180 and multiply it times 70 percent – for a 40 year old this would equal 126.
In short: a 40-year-old would want to exercise in the 90-126 heart beat per minute zone.
Remember that these are just moderate ranges. If you are fit and used to strenuous exercise, you might want to work out more energetically. Just make sure that your health allows you to do so. Get a check-up first.
If you have difficulty measuring, or monitoring your heart rate, while exercising, getting a heart rate monitor might be a worthwile investment.