Natalie Thomas, Us' deputy news editor, is hitting the gym with Buff Brides author Sue Fleming (Katie Holmes was a devotee prior to marrying Tom Cruise!) before saying "I Do" to her beau of three years, Zach Friedman, on May 30. Check her weekly blog -- with step-by-step workout plans, diet details and photos -- on UsMagazine.com every Thursday.
Getting your heart rate up and in the "target zone" is important for optimal fitness results -- it improves cardiovascular endurance while also burning calories.
To calculate your target heart rate use the following formula:
220 - age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
Multiply MHR by .60
Multiply MHR by .80
Those two numbers indicate your target heart rate range. You should keep your heart rate in that range while exercising for optimal fitness results. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you can measure it by taking your pulse. Take your pulse for 6 seconds and then add a zero to that number. That is how many times your heart is beating per minute.
For example, I am 30 years old. (220 - 30 = 190. 190 x .60 = 114. 190 x .80 = 152.) So, my target heart rate is between 114 and 152, and I should strive to stay within that while working out for the best results. Yesterday, I took my pulse and it beat 16 times in 6 seconds, I added a zero and found that my heart rate was 160, which is slightly high for me. If my pulse is too high, I’ll take a little rest or do an exercise that’s not as cardio-intensive like sitting on the ball and doing bicep curls. If it’s too low, I’ll do a set of jumping jacks, run in place or do the mountain climber to get it up.
I'm spelling this out for those of you who are mathematically challenged like me. The second I see numbers and equations, my eyes glaze over and I assume it's too complicated for me. Trust me, it's really easy. If I can do it, you can do it, too! No excuses!