What’s very strange was that I was going to start a thread on identically the same subject today and your post happened to be the first one.
I recently had a coronary scare that convinced me to exercise. I’m 36 years old, am between 2 and 80 pounds overweight, and exercise about once every other decade, so essentially I’m starting from scratch.
I originally started by trying to use the Body for Life method two months ago and I almost had a heart attack, which calls for three high endurance 20 minute workouts per week) and this made me sick as the proverbial dog. I asked my cardiologist during a visit this week and this is what he recommended:
Start your exercise cycle by concentrating on losing weight- not so much tone, not so much anything else, and don’t be in a rush. To lose weight and to accustom myself to exercise, he recommends 3-4 cardio workouts per week in the 55%-65% mhr range (which for me, as a 36 year old, is between 101-120 bpm) for at least 30 minutes and preferably closer to an hour each. (The lower the heart rate, the longer you should exercise).
After I’ve achieved some weight loss and become accustomed to exercise, he advised me to work my way into the 65%-85% range (for me, 121-156 bpm). For starters, he said to work my way up to 150 or so and hold it for at least a minute during my 55%-65% workouts, then go back down to 100-120 range for the rest of the workout. Increase the amount of time I spend in the 65-85% range during each workout gradually until eventually this is where I spend the majority of my workout; this is called the cardio range, and I only need to do this for 20-30 minutes to get the same benefit as the 30-60 minute fatburning 55-65% range, but he warned that if I immediately begin trying to exercise in the cardio range for most of the workout I’ll exhaust myself and probably dread exercise so much I’ll stop.
He cautioned for me to never exceed the 85% range because-
1- unlike muscle tone, endurance, etc., it’s impossible to increase your mhr and in fact it decreases with age whether you’re Marlon Brando or Jack Lalanne
2- above 85% you leave yourself exhausted rather than invigorated
3- above 85% increases rather than decreases the rates of cardiac problems and can toughen the muscles of the heart until they don’t pump properly
My doctor also recommended I buy a wristwatch style heart monitor; you can buy them knew for around $80 or off e-bay and other online stores usually for a lot less. (I got one on e-bay that works fine for $30.)
The workout I think I’m going to devise for myself, and I would greatly appreciate any “good idea/bad idea” input into this (and apologize for a possible hijack, but my question’s very similar to yours so it really shouldn’t be) is this:
Minutes 1-2: warm-up to the 55-65% range
Minutes 2-10: in the 55-65% range
Minutes 10-12: move into cardio range
Minute 12-13: try for 80-85% range
Minutes 13-15: cool down in cardio range
Minutes 15-30: 55-65% range
Minutes 30-35: gradual slow down to regular range
By this time next month I should be essentially indistinguishable from Brad Pitt (at least around the eyebrows).