The Best Advice On ...Getting Your Heart Pumping

4. Always warm up and cool down. Take 5-10 minutes to gradually raise your heart rate at the beginning of a workout and lower it afterward. Before strength training, do low-intensity cardio that recruits larger muscle groups like your legs, back and core. (July 1990)

5. Don't cruise through cardio. Increase intensity by doing intervals: After a warm-up, alternate 1-2 minutes of activity at a rate of perceived exertion, or RPE, of 7-8 with 2-4 minutes of lower-intensity periods (RPE of 3-4). Repeat 4-6 times. (Feb. 2006)

6. Use the talk test. If you can't speak a sentence or two with each breath, you're pushing too hard (unless you're purposely doing high-intensity exercise; see No. 5). (May 1982)

7. Watch the clock to lose weight. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who racked up at least 200 cardio minutes a week for 18 months lost nearly 14 percent of their total body weight. Those who accumulated fewer than 150 minutes reduced their weight by less than 5 percent. (April 2004)

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