Find Your Ideal Conditioning Level

You may find your “ideal conditioning level” heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 and then calculating 72% to 80% as your ideal conditioning level. Remember, if you have been inactive for some time, are very overweight, or suffer from poor health, you may need to modify this number and build your fitness level as your body gains strength and endurance.

Ideal Conditioning Example: I am 47. 220–47=173. 72% of 173=125. 80% of 173=138. Therefore, my “ideal conditioning level” is between 125 and 138 beats per minute.

To check your heart rate:heartbeat

  1. Stop your exercise
  2. Find your pulse on the inside of your wrist or the side of your throat
  3. Count how many times your heart beats in a 10 second period
  4. Multiply this by 6 to find your heart rate per minute

In our “more is better” culture where we tend to do things in excess and want results instantaneously, don’t make the mistake of thinking you are gaining greater results by working harder and pushing the limits of your heart rate and beyond your “ideal conditioning level.” Working outside your ideal conditioning level does not produce more and better results. It does quite the opposite and can be dangerous.

If you are working within your ideal conditioning level, you should perspire, feel warm, and be breathing heavier. You should not, however, be out of breath. A good test is if you can talk and carry on a conversation while exercising. If you are too out of breath to do so, you are outside your ideal conditioning level and should slow down or stop until you recover. You should stop ALL exercise if you feel faint, dizzy, light headed or short of breath.

It is advised that you seek the advice of a doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you have been physically sedentary, are very over weight, or in generally poor health.

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