People who regularly visit a gym do some kind of cardiovascular activity while they are their which is awesome because the American College of Sports Medicine does recommend that to maintain a healthy body composition an individual should perform 20-60mins a day 3-5 time per week at 65%-90% of their maximum heart rate. Now as you noticed in this recommendation their is an additional instruction stating that it should be done at 65% to 90% of one's maximum heart rate. To further explain every individual has a maximum heart rate meaning everybodies heart can only beat so many times in a minute. This maximum heart rate is affected by many different variables including medical history, occupation, family history, etc. but the primary variable that has the greatest affect and has most influence on determining your maximum heart beat is your age. As we get older are bodies break down, exercising is a method we can use to slow this process this is why one would want to part take in cardiovascular activitiy is to maintain one's current heart strength. A very simple way to calculate your individual maximum heart rate is through the use of a very simple equation originally the equation was defined as MHR = 220 - age, but this has been argued over because it does not reflect true difference in age so a more update formular was posted in a study published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise defining the new equation as MHR = 220 - (0.67 x age). So for example a 23year old's maximum heart would be 220 - (0.67 x 23) = 205beat per minute. Now the reason I explained this is because to perform cardio that is going to benefit you in the intended manner cardiovascular training was ment for one most stress their cardiovacular system and heart enough to stimulate improvement in their function. But one can not accurately determined what this required stress is without a tool of measurement and from published studies it has been determined that heart rate is very closely linked to intensity of a workout. Thus by determining your maximum heart rate and working at a given percentage of that maximum heart rate it insures that you will place the adequate stress required on your body for improvement. The ACSM recommends cardiovascular training be done between 65% and 90% of the maximum heart rate. Now your proably wondering well ok that sounds great and I would love to do this but all I know is my maximum heart rate I don't know how many beats per minute I need to be maintain to land within this percentage range. But it is actually very simple to determine your own heart range now that you already have your maximum heart rate. This is done most commonly by using the Karvonen Formula which is listed below

Target Heart Rate = ((max HR − resting HR) × %Intensity) + resting HR

Now to calulate your heart you just plug in your numbers. Your resting heart rate can be assessed by simply counting counting your pulse for one minute upon waking up. So for an example of a 23year old with a average resting heart rate of 60bpm. The work to determine the this individuals correct target heart rate range would look like this:

MHR = 220 - (0.67 x 23) = 205bpm
Target Heart Rate Zone
Low end of Zone = [(205 - 60) x 65%] + 60 = 154bpm
High end of Zone = [(205 - 60) x 90%] + 60 = 191bpm
Target Heart Rate Zone: 154bpm - 191bpm

So if you want to get the most out of your cardiovascular training and improve your hearts strength you must be able to measure your intensity or stress you are placing on the body by maintain your heart rate in the 65% - 90% zone. So investing in a heart rate monitor would be a very wise and useful move. You can pick-up heart rate monitors from your local sporting goods store there are usually two kinds a watch with a montior that straps around your chest just below your nipples or just a watch that you were againist your wrist that has a built in monitor that takes your pulse straight from your wrist.

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