Jack Up Your Heart Rate

I recently read A Short Guide to a Long Life by David Agus, MD, a respected doctor and author. It consists of short chapters of one to two pages, each providing a suggestion for living a healthy life. One of his chapters is “Jack Your Heart Rate Up 50 Percent Above Your Resting Baseline for at Least Fifteen Minutes Every Day.”

Suppose your resting heart rate is 65, not an uncommon number. You can determine yours by staying in bed when you wake up; measure the number of beats for ten seconds and multiply that number by six.

Agus is suggesting that you exercise at least 15 minutes per day at a heart rate of about 100 or higher. This should be high enough to get your heart pumping and for you to break into a sweat. He said, “We know that the old guidelines recommending about a half hour of exercise five days a week are just that – old.”

Our metabolism slows down as we age, meaning we burn fewer calories as part of daily life. This can lead to a weight gain of a pound or two annually; that gets to be a big number over 20 to 30 years. The key to avoiding this is to exercise more at a higher intensity, eat less or a bit of both. I vote for the latter.

Agus added: “Unless you move your body and force your lungs and heart to work harder, you don’t experience all the health-boosting pluses and exercise offers, from reducing your risk of heart disease to minimizing the chances that you’ll become obese, diabetic and depressed.”

Timothy Bartness is the director of the Center for Obesity Reversal at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He recently wrote in an article: “Exercise is great. For stress reduction, for putting off heart disease, for blood sugar control, blood pressure control. It’s crucial for reducing disease risk in people who are overweight or obese.”

Even if you are not at your ideal weight, exercise regularly and jack up your heart rate. It will make a difference in your quality of life.

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