Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

Back from France – great trip but happy to be home!

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April 21, 2013

Dorothy was right! – There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home- especially when such crazy happenings are occurring right in our home town. I’m sure I join many of you in our relief that this saga is over, but our hearts go out to those who suffered terrible losses. It strengthens my resolve to make the most of each day, and to appreciate and treasure my loved ones that much more.

On a lighter note, we had a wonderful, if rainy and windy, vacation in France. We did manage to ride bikes a few times, both in Paris, and then in Vernon, a lovely riverside village along the Seine.

If any of you are interested in a barge tour along the Seine, I’m happy to talk to you about it, including some not-to-be-missed experiences, like touring the landing beaches in Normandy, and visiting Mont. St- Michel. It was truly an amazing experience, whether or not you’re a history buff.

My posts will typically take the form of discussing developments or new studies regarding fitness, nutrition or longevity, and how to maximize any of these aspects of health.

This week, I’d like to summarize an article that you can read below:

1.  The recommendation for cardio exercise that really makes a difference is at least 5 times a week,  30 minutes at a time. However, any and ALL cardio exercise is beneficial, so if 5 times a week is too daunting, work up from 2 or 3 times a week, and you can even do them in split sets- such as two 15 minute cardio sessions.

2.  The Karvonen formula is more accurate than the usual 220 minus your age formula because it takes YOUR resting heart rate into consideration- and this can vary from anywhere in the mid-50’s to the 80’s (adult resting heart rate is considered within normal limits if it’s between 60-90). Lower heart rates may be due to medications, or if you’re an athlete or consistent aerobic participant.
3. Key in this article is the use of intervals, to keep your heart rate in its target range.
Although 3 types of exercise are mentioned, including interval training on a treadmill, elliptical,
or any other cardio machine, any way you can keep your heart rate elevated is acceptable.
Dancing, circuit weight training, cycling, rowing, fast walking and stair climbing are all excellent ways to get the training effect.
Ideally, you combine cardio and strength training workout to maximize endurance and strength,
and keep lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest.
Cross training is key! I combine cardio and strength training by doing zumba, my all-in-one classes, weight training, cycling and yoga to maintain my strength, endurance and flexibility. You can do some version of cross-training by combining your favorite forms of activity. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

by Wendy Toth

iStock 000022290578XSmall 300x199 Cardio Workouts: Why Its Important to Keep Your Heart Rate UpIf you haven’t done cardio in a while, the thought of sweating through a run or aerobics class can be a little daunting. But according to Jeff Ford, B.S., ACSM, director of fitness at Hilton Head Health resort in South Carolina, it’s well worth a little extra effort.

“Research shows that aerobic exercise performed five days a week for at least 30 minutes equates to living a longer, better quality of life and management of chronic conditions,” Ford says. Getting your heart beating faster than it’s resting rate each day trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles more efficiently. This helps your muscles use that fuel more economically as well, and ultimately you move with more ease. In other words, you end up in shape.

And while starting off easy is important so you don’t overdo it, your ultimate goal should be to keep your heart rate up. “It improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your heart by processing oxygen and blood to the working muscles,” continues Ford. “Not to mention it also helps you burn calories when working towards weight loss or maintenance.”

So what exactly does “keeping your heart rate up” mean? Hilton Head Health recommends the Karvonen formula. Use it to find your target heart rate range:

1.  Take your resting pulse (complete resting= upon waking in the morning without an alarm clock, etc.) three mornings in a row.  Add them all together and divide by three, to get an average. This is your RHR (Resting Heart Rate).

2.  (220)- (your age) = (MaxHR)

3.  (MaxHR) – (RHR) = (Heart Rate Reserve a.k.a. HRR)

4.  (HRR) x (60% )=  low training range %

(HRR) x (80%) = high training range %

5.  (Low training range %) + (RHR) = low target heart rate range

(High training range %) + (RHR) = high target heart rate range

Target Heart Rate Range =  (Low Target Heart Rate Range—High Target Heart Rate Range)

“Based on the current American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, the heart rate range should stay between 60 percent and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate,” says Ford.

Below are a few activities he recommends to clients looking to work out for heart health.

  • Treading is a workout that alternates incline and speed in intervals using a treadmill or similar piece of exercise equipment.
  • Tabata Training alternates 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for up to eight rounds on various calisthenics exercises such as jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups.
  • Deep Water Conditioning combines a series of cardio and strength exercises in the pool, such as high-knees and bicycle-legs.

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