4 Important Factors for Weight Loss

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4 Important Factors for Weight Loss

Target heart rate
One persistent myth about exercising to lose weight is that low-intensity exercise -- working at less than 55 percent of your maximum heart rate -- is the best way to burn fat. While your body is burning a greater percentage of calories from fat when your heart rate is lower, the overall number of calories you expend during a workout is what counts. In fact, some scientists believe exercising harder burns more calories both on the treadmill and off. A study in the journal Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental suggests post-workout burn lasts three times longer (up to 101?2 hours!) for those who work out at 75 percent of their maximum heart rate than for those who coast at 50 percent.

If you're a beginner, aim for between 50-70 percent of your maximum heart rate (just multiply your max heart rate by 0.5 and 0.7). A heart-rate monitor with a chest strap, costing between $80-$120, is the best way to tell if you're in your target. But the heart-rate grips on many fitness machines are a good substitute. They work best if your hands are slightly damp with sweat (water helps to conduct the electrical signals from your heart), your arms are relatively still and your grip is light.

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