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- Harvard Health Publications; Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights; July 2004
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Weight Watchers, a commercial weight loss program based on a points system, assigns greater value to food points when you add exercise to your diet program 1. The harder the intensity or the longer you work out, the more points you get, which comes in handy on days you want to splurge. Weight Watchers takes into consideration your body weight, the level of intensity of your workout and the amount of time spent exercising 1. Intensity level is determined by heart rate and physical cues, such as rapid breathing.
Weight Watchers determines workout intensity level in two ways -- by heart rate and physical clues of exertion 1. Exercises that increase your heart rate between 40 and 60 percent of your maximum heart rate level is considered low to moderately intensive exercise. Exercises that increase your heart rate 70 percent or more of your maximum heart rate level is considered high-intensity exercise 1. Physical clues for highly intensive exercise include breaking out in a sweat quickly, deep and rapid breathing and difficulty maintaining a conversation while exercising.
Heart Rate Intensity Level
To determine your maximum heart rate number, subtract your age from 220. Multiply that number by the perceived intensity level percentage to determine how many beats your heart should beat per minute. For example, to determine the maximum heart rate for a 40 year old, subtract 40 from 220, which equals 180. To perform a highly intensive workout, multiply 180 by 0.70, which equals to 126. Based on this example, any exercise that kicks your heart rate up to 126 beats per minute or more is considered an intense workout.
For a highly-intensive workout, try running, bike riding or swimming at a vigorous pace. Try rock climbing or sign up for martial arts classes, like karate or cardio-kickboxing. You can also jump rope or play sports, such as soccer, tennis or basketball, for at least 30 minutes. According to Harvard Health Publications, many of these activities burn more than 700 calories in just 30 minutes, depending on your weight 2. Choose multiple physical activities and sports to prevent exercise boredom. Anything that gets your heart beating fast is considered an intense workout.
Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you haven't worked out in a while or the thought of vigorous exercise seems daunting, slowly build up your stamina and endurance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk over to your co-worker's office instead of sending an email. Take steps to live a more active lifestyle. Once your fitness level improves, increase the time and intensity of your workouts.
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