Your cardiovascular health and its improvements

Your cardiovascular health and its improvements

How to improve your cardiovascular health?

As per the recommendation of the AHA, the elite authorities in this matter, we must have 75 minutes of vigorous exercises or at least 150 minutes of moderate exercises per week. It can also be a combination of both for the adults.

The difference between the vigorous and moderate cardiovascular exercises

Let us define the difference between the vigorous and moderate cardiovascular exercises and which should be the right one for you.

A few differences exist between measuring the intensity level. The difference is fully dependent on your overall health and your individual fitness.

1) The Borg RPE (Rating of perceived Exertion)

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has defined that RPE is an intensity level measurement system of physical activity. Perceived exertion means your feelings about the working of your body. Your experience of physical sensations during your physical activities is the basis for RPE. This includes:

Ø Increased breathing or respiration rate

Ø Increased heart rate

Ø Muscle fatigue

Ø Increased sweating

There is a close correlation between the perceived exertion rating timings 10 of a person and the exact heart rate during physical activity, as has been defined by Borg, in the year 1998.  The example: - In case RPE (rating perceived exertion) of a person is 12, it stands for 12 X 10 i.e. 120, which should be the heart rate of a person per minute.

To be noted: - This is an approximate calculation of heart rate, because the actual calculation varies a lot, depending on the physical condition and age. The Borg RPE is accepted to be the preferred method for assessing those individuals’ intensity, whose pulse or heart rates are affected by medications.


You need to use the RPE scale for assigning numbers to your feelings. You must personally monitor the working of your body so that you can adjust the activities’ intensity either by slowing down or by speeding up your movements.

Your body feelings’ monitoring is crucial for the decision of adjusting your intensity.

ð Definition of physical activity (moderate intensity):- Usually moderate-intensity physical activity means (on a scale of 1 to 20) it should be 11-14. This base on the records of physical activity on a scale which relates to the personal capacity of an individual.

ð Definition of physical activity (vigorous intensity):- As usual, vigorous-intensity physical activity means (on a scale of 1 to 20) it should be 17-19. This base on the records of physical activity on a scale which relates to the personal capacity of an individual.


Moderate intensity & its examples

ð Water aerobics

ð Tennis (doubles)

ð Walking briskly ( the speed must be maintained within 3 miles per hour or even faster, but never try for race-walking)

ð Ballroom dancing

ð Bicycling, but the speed (per hour) must be slower than 10 miles

ð General gardening


Vigorous Intensity & its examples

· Jumping rope

· Aerobic dancing

· Swimming laps

· Heavy gardening ( Example may be continuous hoeing & digging)

· Race walking, running or jogging

· Bicycling, the speed should be maintained 10 miles per hour or it may also be faster

· Tennis (singles)

· Hiking with a heavy backpack or in uphill


To make it a bit clear, as a walker if you want to achieve moderate –intensity activity, your aim should be getting PRE level 12-13, which is the AHA recommended activity level. In case your breathing and muscle fatigue comes near 8, you need to scale up your intensity. However, in case your level of exertion is about 15, you are to slow down, so that you can first achieve moderate then go to the vigorous intensity range.

The scale of ratings is from 0 to 10. The meaning of “0” (zero) is as if you are lying on your bed and 10 means as if you are to sprint, which is not a tough job for you. In between 4 & 5 is known as talk test. In this situation you can talk, for some people it may be little challenging. But talking becomes difficult when the marking is in between 6 & 7. In this situation you are able to say only a few words, than you are otherwise used to.

Ratings of Perceived Exertion:

6 you don’t have any exertion at all
7 you have extremely light exertion i.e. (7.5)
9 you have very light exertion

11 You have light exertion
13 You have somewhat exertion
15 You have Hard (heavy) exertion
17 You have very hard exertion


How to reach to the targeted heart rate?

While working out, you must know whether you are doing too less or too much. The way to reach to the targeted heart rate is very simple; you need not to be in the either side of “insufficient exercise or over exercise”.

Do the 1st thing first

Before knowing about the calculation and knowing about the training of target heart rate, everyone needs to know about “resting heart rate”.

What is resting heart rate?

The number of times of beating of your heart rate in every minute, when you are at rest, is your resting heart rate.

When to check your resting heart rate?

Checking should be done before going to the bed and after getting up in the morning, after a good sleep. To follow the guidelines of NIH (National Institute of Health), children above 10 years of age and adults must have 60 to 100 beats in every minute. Among well trained athletes, it is in between 40 and 60.

How to hit the target

If you are consistent with your exercise, you can determine your target of training your heart.

Ø Use the tips of your index and middle finger (of one hand) for slightly pressing your blood vessels on your wrist of the other hand

Ø Just count your pulses for 10 seconds and then multiply the count by 6; the result will give you the pulse count per minute.  Now you can fix your target heart rate by staying between 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

How to know your numbers?

The following table gives you the idea of the different age-based estimated target rate.

What should be your maximum heart rate?

Your maximum heart rate is almost 220 minus your age. The table below will give you the idea of your highest target heart rate. If you are practicing the intense activities moderately, you heart rate will be nearly 50 to 69 per cent of your maximum heart rate. But during your hard physical activity, your heart rate should be in between 70 to 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate.

The above said figures are averagely calculated, so you can use them as the general guidelines.




Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%

Target HR Zone 50-85%


20 years


200 per minute of beat

100-170 per minute of beat

30 years


190 per minute of beat

95-162 per minute of beat

35 years


185 per minute of beat

93-157 per minute of beat

40 years


180 per minute of beat

90-153 per minute of beat

45 years


175 per minute of beat

88-149 per minute of beat

50 years


170 per minute of beat

85-145 per minute of beat

55 years


165 per minute of beat

83-140 per minute of beat

60 years


160 per minute of beat

80-136 per minute of beat

65 years


155 per minute of beat

78-132 per minute of beat

70 years


150 per minute of beat

75-128 per minute of beat


The important thing to be noted here is there are some blood pressure medications that are capable of lowering the maximum heart rate and so eventually will lower the target zone rate. In case you are under some medication, consult your physician for your present medicines and also about your lower target heart rate.

What is the importance of a number?

Anyone with too high heart rate is straining himself or herself. This type of person needs to slow down. But in case it is too slow and the feeling of intensity is light to moderate or brisk, the person needs to push the exercise a little harder.

The initial few weeks of working out should be targeted to lower zone, which should be fifty percent in this stage. After some time it can be gradually increased to higher range that is 85 per cent. To reach to your maximum heart rate of 85 per cent you are to cross over 6 months or so.

Although reaching at 85 percent is not absolute, but it is comparatively good. It is also advised that you always try to carry on conversations while exercising.

Any person with cardiac rehab or with heart condition


A person with cardiac rehab or with heart condition must consult his or her physician about the option of physical exercises. The person must also enquire about the target heart rate and the need for monitoring during physical activities. This helps a person in choosing the right type of physical activities which suits the person in his or her current level of health goals and fitness. This is to ensure him or her about the activities which are comparatively safer than other types.

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