Implications of Peak Heart Rate Study for Women

Fitness Forum:

I am always eager to read IDEA Fitness Journal, which keeps me up-to-date on the trends and the science in health and fitness. It is such a great resource for me and my staff. I would like to make a short comment on “New Heart Rate Recommendations for Women” [Making News, January 2011]. The [item mentioned a] study by Gulati et al. [Circulation, 122 (2), 130–37]. The study is excellent, and I look forward to the continued research of those associated with it. Although the excerpt you provided was informative, it did not mention what the implications of this study may mean for fitness professionals.

The calculation for peak heart rate (HR) used by the researchers, 206 – (age × .088), was determined utilizing several variables and was based on the chronotropic response to exercise (variables that affect the rate of the heartbeat). There are aspects of this study that require further research. [For example,] it was noted within the current study that “the chronotropic index was not associated with exercise capacity” and therefore did not reflect levels of fitness.

The study did provide a good understanding of chronotropic competence vs. chronotropic incompetence in relation to the above mentioned peak HR calculation. There were also a few limitations to the current study. The study was a cohort of women 35 and older with fewer than 3% of participants over age 75; this reduces the applicability of the conclusions of the study to this age group. Also, exercise capacity was not directly measured in this study but was only estimated. This result can possibly affect the calculation of both the metabolic reserve and the chronotropic index.

The study authors concluded that “sex-specific chronotropic incompetence is independently associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality in women. . . . The traditional estimate of the maximal HR for age with exercise, based on a male standard, appears to be an overestimate in women.” Overall, the study was superb and opens the door to further research to provide a more accurate calculation of peak HR for women that will greatly benefit our field of practice.

Terrie Alby, MS, MEd, CHES
Albany, Georgia

Encouraging Mind-Body Movement

Editor’s Note: Our January Mind-Body-Spirit news question asked readers what strategies they use to encourage newcomers to participate in mind-body classes regularly. Here’s how Lance Breger, MS, head trainer at MINT Fitness in Washington, DC, motivates his clients to add a bit of mind-body to their weekly regimen:

  • I encourage mind-body class participation with my one-on-one clients and through my childhood obesity nonprofit program.
  • As a one-on-one trainer, I invite clients to join me at a yoga, tai chi or meditation class. I introduce them to the instructor, help them with any props and show them that I am a “beginner” too.
  • I print out a copy of our club’s group exercise schedule, circle the classes I’d like them to attend and set a goal of attending one class per week.
  • I explain why mind-body classes are important to a client and his goals. Many times I explain how the stress reduction will help regulate hormonal levels for weight loss and body fat loss.
  • I share articles about professional athletes or U.S. military troops doing yoga for their flexibility, core, balance, etc.
  • In my kids’ programs, yoga stretches and meditation are integrated into the class or “workout” from day one, so mind-body activities are seen as necessary, not supplementary.
Black-Bean Brownies?

Editor’s Note: In “Black Beans in Brownies?” [Food for Thought, January 2011], we suggested a recipe that substitutes liquefied black beans for the egg and oil/butter in a brownie mix. One reader tried it and reported the results:

My husband and I enjoy the texture of red-bean desserts. So, last night I baked a batch of Gluten Free Pantry’s Chocolate Truffle Brownies with Eden Organics Black Beans, No Salt Added, replacing the oil and eggs. First, I drained and rinsed the beans before liquefying them in a food processor with a little filtered water. Second, I used a hand mixer to combine the bean purée with the brownie mix. Last, I baked as directed. The brownies baked nicely; they tasted great right out of the oven; my husband liked them (and asked for a second helping); and they tasted great the next day. The consensus is that the black-bean brownies left us feeling fuller (than we would have felt had I baked them as directed with eggs and oil). I doubt I would have noticed that they contained alternative ingredients if I had not baked them myself.

Karen Strand
Group Fitness Instructor
Thonotosassa, Florida

Coupon Clipper for a Cause

About a year ago, IDEA Fitness Journal had an item about the Overseas Coupon Program for military families [Food for Thought, October 2009]. I started clipping grocery coupons and sending them to [the U.S. Naval Station] in Rota, Spain. Today I received a letter thanking me for the coupons, but going on to say that they have had such an overwhelming response that they are declaring a Coupon Holiday, at least for the time being. It’s nice to know that IDEA members probably contributed a great amount to the success of this worthwhile program. Other American military bases around the world might still be happy to continue receiving coupons. The program’s website is www.ocpnet.org.

Lucinda M. Dyjak
Ben Avon, Pennsylvania

We Want to Hear From You!

Send your letters and opinions to Ryan Halvorson, IDEA Fitness Journal Fitness Forum, 10455 Pacific Center Ct., San Diego, CA 92121-4339; fax them to him at (858) 535-8234; or e-mail them to rhalvorson@ideafit.com. You may also leave a voice mail letter in the editorial voice mail box at (858) 535-8979, ext. 239. (For general membership questions or information, however, please e-mail member services at member@ideafit.com.) We reserve the right to edit letters for length or clarity.

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March 2011

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