Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How do I know if the exercise that I do is working or not?"
Heard something about your heart rate has to be at a certain level for exercise to help you stay in shape. How do you know if you're doing the right exercises? Should I check my pulse and count it?
If you are seriously training for an athletic event, such as a road race, then checking your heart rate is an important strategy, because, based on your age and training goals, there are optimal heart rate goals to help maximize your training efforts and boost your heart fitness. An athletic trainer would be the best person to talk to if you are seriously training and need some guidance. On the other hand, if you are just trying to exercise to maintain general health and prevent heart disease, then it is not necessary to use such sophisticated methods. General guidelines are sufficient enough. For example, you should engage in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. In terms of intensity, as long as you are exercising hard enough to sweat and feel a little out of breath, that should be sufficient. Another useful metric is the 'talk test' - if you are exercising with a friend, you should be moving fast enough that you can't easily talk in full sentences without feeling a little short of breath. For questions about exercise, healthy lifestyle habits, and heart health, you should always talk to your primary care doctor.
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