Target heart rate zone

"Inderal is one of the more original. Toprol. Atenolol. Acebutorol."

Cardiologist Dr. Roland Phillips is naming the more commonly known heart medications. They are all beta blockers.

"Beta blockers by their nature, actually suppress heart rate, depress blood pressure. So in response to exercise your heart rate and blood pressure response will be curbed. It's almost like a governor," said Dr. Phillips.

So if you are on a beta blocker and you can't reach your target heart rate zone, are you really benefiting from your workout?

"In terms of overall general health, conditioning of those muscles, improved aerobic capacity, actually improved longevity. The answer is yes," said Dr. Phillips.

What about the target heart rate zones? Do they work?

"I think there is a lot of fixation on heart rate for people who are just getting into exercise,” said Dr. Phillips. “I wouldn't be inclined or fixate on heart rate. I would fixate on being active."

The typical formula for target heart rate is 220 minus your age. That gives you the maximum heart rate, or beats, per minute. So, if you are forty-five years old, your maximum heart rate would be 175 beats per minute and if you were to work at 55 percent of that maximum, a good start for beginners, your heart rate should not exceed 96 beats per minute.

"It is arithmetical and therefore it has some innate errors to it but it is better than nothing. It's only a guide," Dr. Phillips said.

If you want to get the most out of your workout, you may wonder does it have to be done all at once or can you break it up? For instance walking, one long walk or two short ones? Well if your goal is to lose weight, you may want to break it up.

Dr. Phillips says the data shows you lose more weight and gain cardiovascular benefits by exercising twice in one day, working up to a total of an hour a day. A balance between lifting weights and cardio is best. If you are on a beta blocker, be sure to check with your doctor for advice on exercise and your heart rate.

"I am asked what is the best exercise. My answer is flippant. It is the one you do every single day," Dr. Phillips said.

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