Are You Getting “Moderate” Exercise? Here’s How to Tell

Experts recommend at least 30 minutes per day of “moderate” exercise most days of the week to help keep your brain sharp. But how can you tell if your exercise intensity meets that level? One method is to judge how brisk your workout is by using the “talk test.” If you are working hard at your exercise, but still able to talk without too much trouble, you are probably within the moderate range. However, if you can sing while exercising, you need to exert more effort. On the other hand, if you can say only a few words before you need to stop and take a breath, you are exercising at a “vigorous” level.

Another way to determine your exercise level is to measure your heart rate. This method involves subtracting your age from 220. At moderate exercise levels, your maximum heart rate should fall within 50 to 70 percent of the resulting number. (For example, a person who is 74 years of age would begin with the number 146 (220-74), figure 50 to 70 percent of that number, and aim for a heart rate of between 73 and 102 beats per minute.) To check whether you fall within this range while exercising, stop about midway into your workout and take your pulse for 30 seconds, then multiply the result by two to get your pulse rate for one minute.

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