Anna Maria Sapugay, M.D. jogging at Lake Chabot in
Castro Valley, California
WHICH EXERCISES HELP CONDITION THE HEART AND LUNGS?
Exercises that improve the condition of your heart and
lungs must be:
Brisk -- raising heart and breathing rates.
Sustained -- done at least 15 to 30 minutes without
Regular -- repeated at least three times per week. All
exercises do not give you the same conditioning benefits
for your heart and lungs. There are three different
types of activities:
Exercises that do condition heart and lungs.
Running in Place
are naturally very vigorous. They need to be done for at
least 15 minutes, three times a week. Then they will
condition your heart and lungs, burn off a lot of
calories, and give you many other benefits such as more
energy and greater resistance to stress.
Exercises that can condition heart and lungs if done
These activities are moderately vigorous but can be
excellent conditioners, if done briskly for at least 30
minutes, three times a week. When done briskly, they
give the same benefits as the type 1 activities.
Exercises that do not condition heart and lungs.
Golf (on foot or by cart)
These activities by nature are not vigorous or
sustained. They still have certain benefits -- they can
be enjoyable, help improve coordination and muscle tone,
and help relieve tension. However, they neither
condition the heart and lungs nor burn off many
THE KEY TO SUCCESS
The key to a successful exercise program is choosing an
activity (or activities) that you will enjoy. Here are
some questions that can help you choose the right kind
of exercise for you:
physically fit are you?
old are you?
3. What benefits do you want from exercising?
you like to exercise alone or with other people?
you prefer to exercise outdoors or in your home?
much money are you willing to spend for sports equipment
7. When can you best fit the activity into your schedule?
By choosing activities you like, you will be much more
likely to exercise regularly, keep on exercising, and
enjoy its many benefits.
SHOULD I CONSULT
A DOCTOR BEFORE I START EXERCISING?
Most people do not need to see a doctor before they
start since a gradual; sensible exercise program will
have minimal health risks. However, there are some
people who should seek medical advice. To find out if
you should consult a doctor before you start, use the
Mark those items that apply to you:
___ Your doctor said you have heart trouble, a heart
murmur, or you have had a heart attack.
___ You frequently have pains or pressure -- in the left
or midchest area, left neck, shoulder or arm -- during
or right after you exercise.
___ You often feel faint or have spells of severe
___ You experience extreme breathlessness after mild
___ Your doctor said your blood pressure was too high
and is not under control. Or you don't know whether or
not your blood pressure is normal.
___ Your doctor said you have bone or joint problems
such as arthritis.
___ You are over age 60 and not accustomed to vigorous
___ Your father, mother, brother, or sister had a heart
attack before age 50.
___ You have a medical condition not mentioned here
which might need special attention in an exercise
program. (For example, insulindependent diabetes.)
If you've checked one or more items, talk to your doctor
before you start. If you've checked no items, you can
start on a gradual, sensible exercise program tailored
to your needs.
HOW DO I PACE
Build up slowly. No matter where you begin, you will be
able to build up your exercise time or pace as your body
becomes more fit. You can find out how hard to exercise
by keeping track of your heart rate. Your maximum heart
rate is the fastest your heart can beat. The best
activity level is 60 to 75 percent of this maximum rate.
This 60-75 percent range is called your heart rate
When you begin your exercise program, aim for the lower
part of your heart rate Target Zone (60 percent) during
the first few months. As you get into better shape,
gradually build up to the higher part of your Target
Zone (75 percent). After 6 months or more of regular
exercise, you can exercise at up to 85 percent of your
maximum heart rate -- if you wish. However, you do not
have to exercise that hard to stay in good condition.
To find your heart rate Target Zone, look for the age
category closest to your age and read the line across.
For example, if you are 43, the closest age on the chart
is 45; your heart rate target zone is 105 to 131 beats
Heart Rate Average Maximum
Age Target Zone 60-75% Heart Rate 100%
20 years 120-150 beats per min. 200 beats per min.
(60-75% of 200 beats)
25 years 117-146 beats per min. 195 beats per min.
30 years 114-142 beats per min. 190 beats per min.
35 years 111-138 beats per min. 185 beats per min.
40 years 108-135 beats per min. 180 beats per min.
45 years 105-131 beats per min. 175 beats per min.
50 years 102-127 beats per min. 170 beats per min.
55 years 99-120 beats per min. 165 beats per min.
60 years 96-120 beats per min. 160 beats per min.
65 years 93-116 beats per min. 155 beats per min.
70 years 90-113 beats per min. 150 beats per min.
Your maximum heart rate is usually 220 minus your age.
However, the above figures are averages and should be
used as general guidelines.
To see if you are within your heart rate Target Zone,
take your pulse immediately after you stop exercising.
Count it for 30 seconds and multiply by two. If your
pulse is below your Target Zone, exercise a little
harder the next time. If you're above your Target Zone,
exercise a little easier. And if it falls within the
Target Zone, you're doing fine. Once you're exercising
within your Target Zone, you should check your pulse at
least once each week during the first 3 months and
HOW LONG SHOULD I
Each exercise session should last from about 25 to 40
minutes and include:
5 minutes Warm Up
15-30 minutes Exercising in Your Heart Rate Target
Zone (15 to 30 minutes is your goal --
begin with a shorter period and build up
5 minutes Cool Down
25-40 minutes TOTAL
PRESCRIPTION FOR YOUR HEALTH
Enjoy life more fully!
Exercise briskly at least 15-30 minutes three times a
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public
Health Service, National Institutes of Health,
If you are concerned about any difference in your
treatment plan and the information here, you
are advised to contact your health care provider.