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Backpacker Magazine – April 2001

Survival Of The Fittest

Wish you could leap tall mountains in a single bound? Here's an exercise program designed for backpackers.

by: Therese Iknoian

In A Heartbeat

How to calculate your target heart rate:
Since backpacking isn't a high-speed sport, you don't need to train at high speed. Exercising at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate is adequate. To determine your target heart rate, use the formula below, and then check your pulse while you're exercising. Adjust the workout's intensity to reach your target. If you're allergic to math, use the Heart Rate Calculator at

Subtract your age from 220 (226 if you're a woman) to find your theoretical maximum heart rate.
Multiply the result by the percentage of your maximum heart rate at which you want to exercise to find your target heart rate.
For example, if you are a 35-year-old man, your maximum heart rate is 185 (220  35 = 185). If you want to work out at 60 to 70 percent of that, multiply 185 by .60 (which equals 111) and .70 (which equals 130). For hiking workouts, then, your heart rate during training should be 111 to 130 beats per minute.

Therese Iknoian dumped the rush of Silicon Valley last year to move with her family to 5 acres in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where fitness-boosting trails abound. Her latest book is Mind-Body Fitness for Dummies (Hungry Minds, Inc., 888-438-6643;; $19.99).

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