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Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's All About Muscle Endurance

To improve your endurance, otherwise known as cardiovascular fitness or exercise tolerance, exercise must use oxygen or be "aerobic."

Important Points:

- It must use the large muscles of the arms or legs.
- It must feel like moderate work, with faster breathing and more heartbeats each minute.* (see last page)
- It must occur regularly at least three times each week.
- It must be continuous for 20 minutes, not including warm-up and cool-down.

* A target heart range is a guide for some people to check the effect of endurance exercise. It is 60-80 percent of the predicted (average, usual) maximum heart rate of people in a certain age group. You can use a chart to find a target heart range for your age group, unless you are taking heart or blood pressure medication or have other health problems. Remember, the best guide is how you feel!

To determine your heartbeats per minute, you will have to find and count your pulse. Stop exercise briefly, and quickly follow these instructions. It will take some practice!

To find your heart rate (beats/minute):

- Immediately after exercising, place the tip of your third finger lightly over the blood vessel in your neck located to the left or right of your Adam's apple, or place it on your wrist just below the base of your thumb.

- Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds.

- Multiply the number of beats by 6 to determine beats per minute.

- If your pulse is below your target heart range, exercise a little harder next time. If you are above your target heart range, exercise a little less vigorously.

Source: American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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