Imagine today you are given a prescription. This prescription, when taken properly, becomes a wonder drug or a miracle pill. In fact this prescription will do more for your vitality, your quality of life, and your health and longevity than any other prescription on the market.
The prescription uses several names: movement, physical activity, exercise, fitness, and workout. In order for the prescription to do its wonder, it has to be taken properly and regularly. Take a closer look.
Frequency – can be taken at least 5 times per week. Not 2 times or whenever you feel like it. Some will take it 3 times per week if they’re just starting it, and that’s okay. Eventually you’ll want to work up to taking this drug 5 or more days per week.
Duration – requires more than swallowing it with food and water. The usual drug dose is a minimum of 150 minutes per week. Like anything, it’s best to spread out the dose evenly throughout the week. So if you divide the 150 dose minutes over a 5 day period, you get 30 minutes of a drug dose per day. It’s even okay to break up the 30 minutes into multiple sessions if you don’t have a 30 minute chunk of time or if it’s just too much. For example, try taking a dose of three 10 minute sessions or two 15 minutes sessions. Again, accumulating at least 30 minutes per day is an ideal drug dose.
Intensity – requires a certain amount of potency. Intensity level must be used at a percentage of your maximum heart rate – somewhere between 40-85%. The wide range allows you to use the best level for your current health status. For example, if you are a normal healthy adult then it’s best to use the drug at a higher intensity. If you have risk of heart disease or other chronic conditions present, then the low to moderate intensity is best for you starting out. You may increase your intensity level as your health and fitness levels improve. Below is a simple mathematical formula that helps determine your desired drug intensity called Target Heart Rate.
Example: Sally is 65 years old with a resting heart rate of 70, and wants to know her training heart rate for the intensity level 60% - 70%.
Sally’s Maximum Training Heart Rate: 220 - 65 (Age) = 155 155 - 70 (Rest. HR) = 85 85 x .70 (Max. Intensity) + 70 (Rest. HR) = 130 Beats/Minute
130 ÷ 6 = 22 Beats/10 Seconds
Sally’s training heart rate zone will therefore be 121-130 beats per minute OR
20-22 beats per 10 seconds.
If you’re not a number oriented person, then maybe you’ll want to measure your drug intensity level by a talk/sing method. Simply measured, if you can talk while exercising then it’s a good intensity, but if you can sing then speed up.
Mode – prescription may come in different brands. It’s best to choose a brand that uses large muscle groups and used continuously and rhythmically. For example, walking, jogging, swimming, biking, cross country skiing, dancing, kayaking, just to name a few. Any brand is ideal when it keeps your heart rate elevated for a sustained period of time. The most common and least expensive brand in today’s market is brisk walking. Why? Brisk walking has been found to have a higher compliance rate than other brands because it can be easily incorporated into a busy time schedule; does not require special skills, equipment or facility; is companionable; and less apt to cause injuries.
Caution – be sure to let your doctor know when you are ready to start using the wonder drug. Make it fun and enjoy the benefits!
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