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Higher-Intensity Workouts More Effective

In terms of promoting overall fitness, German researchers have found moderate to high-intensity endurance exercise significantly more beneficial than low-intensity exercise. While low-intensity exercise is appropriate for those with heart conditions or other disabilities/conditions that prevent higher intensity exercise, researchers stated that for healthy adults, intense endurance exercise is superior. In order to reap the benefits of endurance exercise, researchers recommended that healthy individuals with no heart problems aim for a heart rate of at least 80 percent of their maximum heart rate. To determine your approximate maximum heart rate for those 20 years of age and older, simply subtract 20 from your current age, then subtract the resulting number from 200. Thus, a 35-year old would have a maximum heart rate of 185 beats per minute; 35 minus 20 equals 15 and 200 minus 15 equals 185. Therefore, the target exercising heart rate for this individual would be 148 beats per minute; 80 percent of 185.

Source: International Journal of Sports Medicine. January 2007.