Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

So how do I get rid of the fat around my middle…..?

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taking heart rate

taking heart rate


I get this question at least 3 times a week from existing and new clients who feel that no matter WHAT they do, ever since about age 50, they’ve been struggling with accumulation of fat in their midsection. New research looks at what it takes to reduce adipose tissue around the waist, and not too surprisingly, the answer lies with exercising for more time and with more intensity. A recent study compared women who exercised moderately for 150 minutes a week, (the minimum recommendation for fitness) with women who exercised for 300 minutes a week, or the equivalent of one hour, 5 days a week. Not only did they find that the latter group lost fat around their middle, but a link between fat loss and breast cancer was referenced. “A probable association between physical activity and post-menopausal breast cancer risk is supported by more than 100 epidemiologic studies, with strong biologic rationale supporting fat loss as an important (though not the only) mediator of this association, ” as stated in the article. Go to for more details.

The Surgeon General recommends a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity along with 2 sessions of weight training to maintain and support fitness for adults. Find out about other recommendations at at However, this study compared those who used the aerobic recommendation of 150 minutes a week, and saw little change in their abdominal body fat as compared to those who exercised twice that amount per week. This is instructive for those wondering how to really make a change in their physique. Another important factor is getting into your target heart rate zone. For a comprehensive look at what your target heart rate is, go to Here’s a quick look at where you should be based on your age.

20 years 100-170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
30 years 95-162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93-157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90-153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88-149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85-145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83-140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80-136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years 78-132 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
70 years

75 years

80 years

75-128 beats per minute

72-125 beats per minute

69-122 beats per minute

150 beats per minute

145 beats per minute

140 beats per minutes

So what’s the take-away? Once again, moderate to intense exercise 5 days a week, one hour at time will help you get rid of the belly fat, providing your diet stays about the same, as long as this would be an increase in your current physical activity level. Don’t panic if you exceed your “maximum heart rate”. The above numbers are estimates, and true target heart rates are based on your resting heart rate.  You should check with your doctor if you think you’re regularly going over your recommended rate. I’d go out on a limb and say that this is a good problem to have because it means you’re working very hard and going beyond your moderate to hard intensity if you’re exercising at this rate (and can still breathe!)

Now get out there and find a way to boost your exercise and reap the rewards!

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