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Exercise and the Heart

Written by: Breanna Cayo, Fitness Specialist at Fitness at Capella Tower | AdvantageHealth

How Exercise Impacts Heart Health

  • Lowers resting heart rate

  • Lowers resting blood pressure

  • Heart muscle becomes stronger (left ventricular hypertrophy)

  • Helps to balance cholesterol (decreases LDL and increases HDL)

  • Many other benefits can be found in the resource provided (listed in the references below)

Exercise Recommendations

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (Heart rate 50% - 70% of max)

    • Example: walking and most forms of functional strength training

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (Heart rate 70% - 85% of max)

    • Example: running, cycling, rowing, elliptical, etc.

  • At least two strength-training sessions a week

NOTE: Any amount of physical activity is better than nothing; even if you don’t hit the recommendation MOVE your body!

Calculating Max Heart Rate (Max HR)

  • Simple Calculation:

    • 220 - age = Max HR

  • Determining Target Heart Rate:

    • Multiply Max HR by zone percentage

      • Moderate Intensity = Max HR x (50% - 70%)

      • Vigorous Intensity = Max HR x (70% - 85%)

  • Example: 29-year-old female wants to know her moderate intensity heart rate zone (50 - 70%)

    • 220 - 29= 191 beats per minute (bpm)

    • 191 bpm= Max HR

    • 191*.5 = 96 bpm

    • 191* .70 = 134 bpm

    • Moderate Intensity Heart Rate Zone = 96 -134 bpm

NOTE: if you are new to exercise start with moderate intensity for at least 4 - 6 weeks before proceeding to more vigorous forms

**Listen to your body when it comes to exercise if it feels too intense STOP!

**Contact your physician before beginning any exercise regimen if you have any condition that prevents engagement - Safety first!

**If you are currently suffering from cardiovascular disease, please contact your physician before engaging in exercise especially more vigorous forms



Since 2001, Minnesota-based AdvantageHealth has been delivering award-winning employee wellbeing programs and fitness center design & management throughout the U.S.

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