Challenge Idea: Keep the Beat

This February, challenge each of your department members to improve their cardiovascular fitness as part of American Heart Month. For the greatest health benefits, cardiovascular activity should be performed by adults for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week within your target heart rate. Heart rate should be taken immediately after exercise.

Your target heart rate should be 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. This maximum rate is based on your age. To find an estimate of your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 – 50 years = 170 beats per minute (bpm). The 50 percent and 70 percent levels would be:

  • 50 percent: 170 x 0.50 = 85 bpm
  • 70 percent: 170 x 0.70 = 119 bpm

    Thus, the moderate-intensity physical activity for a 50-year-old person requires that the heart rate remains between 85 and 119 bpm during physical activity.

    Challenge Rules:

  1. Calculate your target heart rate zone. Use the Target Heart Rate Zone Calculating Worksheet.
  2. Plan out times throughout the week to do at least 30 minutes of continuous cardiovascular activity.
  3. Sign up for the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program Fired Up For Fitness Challenge to receive incentive prizes for your hard work.
  4. The goal of this challenge is to reach your target heart rate while doing aerobic exercise at least three times per week.

To motive your department members, try sending out weekly emails with different types of cardiovascular exercises, motivational messages and quotes, and exercise tips. Seek out ways to train together as a department, such as group runs, basketball or other group sports, or bike rides. Put up a bulletin board with exercise examples in the station. Find more fitness resources and activity ideas on the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program web site.

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