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how high should I let my heart rate get during exercise?

Im a 39 year old female, Im 5'1. Ive recently gotten back into the gym doing some cardio and weight lifting. Im out of shape now and my resting heart rate is around 90. When I get on the treadmill, I do some speed walking for about 30 min. Heres the thing though...? My heart rate gets up to around 165?? Is that safe? How high should I let my heart rate get before I should stop?? I weigh 125 right now, but Im trying to lose about 10 pounds. I also do some weight lifting when Im done on the treadmill. Should I do a slow, steady paced walk or a fast paced steady walk to burn fat and not muscle? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! :)
1 Responses
921323 tn?1268679412
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
These are great questions!

Generally, I do not think that targeting exercise to your heart rate is very important for the typical person who is trying to exercise to maintain general fitness/health and/or lose weight.  

In any case, there is a recent study that suggests that we should calculate women's "predicted maximum heart rate" differently from men's - using a slightly different formula.  Using that formula of 206 - (0.88)(age), yours is about 171.  This suggests that the average woman without heart disease should be able to reach a heart rate in this range with exercise.  So 165 shouldn't be a problem for you.

Then there's the whole "fat burning" question.  I would try to think about it more simply.  Exercise for more intensity and for a longer time, and you will achieve a greater benefit.  However, there is some data that suggests that brief spurts of high intensity exercise interspersed with a slower steady rate could actually result in more weight loss than a longer period of moderate exercise.  So you might consider some interval training as part of your regimen.

Best of luck!  Check out www.theflexdiet.com for some other fun ideas.
JB
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