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Training Your Heart

Updated on April 16, 2010

Your heart is a muscle that can be trained just like your biceps or any other muscle in your body.  It gets stronger with regular cardiovascular exercise.  Examples of cardiovascular activities are jogging, swimming, dancing, cycling, hiking, and skiing.  Let's look at how the heart responds to training.

When your heart is strong, it doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood.  This means your heart will pump more blood per beat and per minute than when compared to an untrained heart.  Furthermore, your resting heart rate and blood pressure will decrease.

There is a recommended range for your heart rate when exercising.  To determine yours, first get a calculator.  Start by subtracting your age from 220 (220-age.)  This will give you your estimated maximum heart rate (MHR).  Then, multiply your MHR by 60% or 0.6.  This number represents the bottom of your range.  Then, multiply your MHR by 90% or 0.9.  This is the top of your heart rate range.
For example, a 35-year old woman's target heart rate is 111-166bpm based on the following calculation.
220-35 = 185(MHR)
185 x 60% = 111
185 x 90% = 166
Exercising at the higher end of the range represents higher intensity exercise.  To monitor your heart rate, you can purchase a heart rate monitor.  There are numerous models in many price ranges depending on the amount of functions you choose.  Look for a model that has a chest strap.  Polar is a top brand.

Also, you can check your pulse on the thumb-side of your wrist.  Pulse checks are usually counted for 15 seconds.  Then, you multiply that number by 4.

Regular cardiovascular training will help prevent heart disease, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, obesity, and many types of cancer.  The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week.  So, get moving!


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    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      As a heart patient, the one stat I follow closely is my resting heart rate. If I ignore my body, my resting heart rate is 94! It should be 64 for me to feel good and yes, I feel rotten when it is at 94. All this talk about the silly scale when our heart is ignore. Excellent hub!

    • mixfitness profile image

      mixfitness 7 years ago from Round Hill, VA

      Thanks for your comment and fan mail, M.s Fowler!

    • M.s Fowler profile image

      M.s Fowler 7 years ago from United states

      Thank you for writing this it's very useful!