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CARDIOLOGIST: “Subtract your аge from 220 and you will know the condition of your heart”

A simple way to find out the condition of your heart is revealed by the famous Serbian dr Prof. Petar Otasevic, a formula that has long been well known in healthcare.

Exercise is healthy for your psychophysical condition, but before going to the gym, you should check your general health condition, i.e., do a cardiac examination that includes a blood pressure check, a laboratory test, an ECG, and an ultrasound of the heart.

Going to the gym is recommended for everyone, but since strenuous exercise under weight can cause various health problems, especially the heart, it is necessary to exercise carefully and in a controlled manner.

When it comes to training, Prof. Dr. Petar Otasevic, a specialist in internal medicine with a subspecialization in cardiology and an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade, says that doctors absolutely recommend exercise, but that in the case of middle-aged or elderly people, individual health examinations should be done beforehand.

“Exercise is something that we doctors advise everyone to do, in addition to avoiding fast food and generally any food that contains a large amount of fat, sugar, or carbohydrates.

The recommendation is regular exercise up to 150 minutes per week, but it does not have to be exercise in the gym; it can be any physical activity of your choice, such as walking, brisk walking, running, cycling, etc., says the doctor.

However, as he advises, some caution and prior screening are required, especially when dealing with the middle-aged population.

“If you are middle-aged, before you decide to start exercising, especially if you plan to go to the gym, it would be good to check your general state of health, that is, to have a cardiac examination that includes a blood pressure check, laboratory test, EKG, and ultrasound of the heart, to determine if exercise is safe for you and at what pace you should exercise,” advises the doctor.

Calculate your maximum heart rate.

When it comes to cardio sports and exercises like running, swimming, cycling, or jumping rope, which increase your endurance, the interlocutor points out that they have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

In addition, cardio exercises increase calorie consumption, which is good for weight control.

“Cardio training has numerous positive effects and is recommended for everyone, provided you adjust the intensity of your fitness and general physical fitness. These are aerobic exercises that actually increase our endurance by working all the muscles, including the heart.

In this way, more oxygen is consumed and accumulated fats are melted”, explained the doctor, who once again emphasized that certain age groups must check their health before deciding to start exercising.

On the other hand, the cardiologist’s general advice is to watch how fast your heart is working.

“It should not exceed the maximum heart rate, which is calculated by subtracting the number of years from 220. For example, if you are 50 years old, when you subtract that number from 220, we arrive at the calculation that your heart should not beat faster than 170 beats per minute; that is the maximum upper limit”, emphasizes the doctor, who concludes that as a person ages, his maximum heart rate will decrease.


Your goal heart rate for moderate-intensity physical exercise should be between 64% and 76% of your maximum heart rate, or 1.2 of your maximum heart rate. Based on your age, you can calculate your maximum heart rate.

Subtract your age from 220 to calculate your age-related maximal heart rate. For a 50-year-old, for example, the predicted age-related maximal heart rate would be 220 minus 50 years, or 170 beats per minute (bpm). The 64% and 76% levels would be as follows:

Level 64%: 170 x 0.64 = 109 bpm, Level 76%: 170 x 0.76 = 129 bpm

This means that for a 50-year-old to engage in moderate-intensity physical exercise, the heart rate must remain between 109 and 129 beats per minute.

Your target heart rate for vigorous-intensity physical activity should be between 77% and 93% (1.2 of your maximal heart rate). To find this range, apply the same formula as before, but replace “64 and 76%” with “77 and 93%”.

For a 35-year-old, for example, the predicted age-related maximal heart rate would be 220 minus 35 years = 185 beats per minute (bpm). The 77% and 93% thresholds would be as follows:

Level 77%: 185 x 0.77 = 142 bpm; Level 93%: 185 x 0.93 = 172 bpm

This means that for a 35-year-old to engage in vigorous-intensity physical exercise, the heart rate must remain between 142 and 172 beats per minute.

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