How to Train with a Heart Rate Monitor

The heart rate monitor answers the eternal question of how fast is fast and how slow is slow. A heart rate monitor (HRM) is a useful tool to find your target zone of heartbeats per minute. The HRM is your pacer, telling you when to speed up or to slow down to achieve the results you want to get with your workout. However, before starting any exercise program, you should consult a physician to design a program that is well suited for your goals and current condition.

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A heart rate monitor can be beneficial to both recreational joggers and professional athletes. With the help of a heart rate monitor, you can get more out of your exercise time. Cyclists can also use them, as they can track your training performance during endurance, tempo and interval rides, whether you bike on a road, trail or stationary trainer. Most of the heart rate monitors display the number of calories burnt during a workout and they can help target your exercise for maximum fat burning. They help weight-loss participants with regular exercise and a sustainable dietary regimen.

One of the main benefits of the heart rate monitor is that it helps you maintain the optimal heart rate target zone for your specific goal. High-technology models inform you of this via digital display or an audible tone. A heart rate monitor gives you immediate feedback on how hard you are working out so that you can adjust to get the greatest benefit from your exercise regimen. You need to exercise within your target heart zone to get good results.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person’s target heart rate should be 50% to 70% of his/her maximum heart rate.

50% level: 170 x 0.50 = 85 beats per minute (bpm)
70% level: 170 x 0.70 = 119 beats per minute (bpm)

A heart rate monitor includes a strap-like transmitter that goes around your chest and measures your heart rate. It also consists of a watch for your wrist that connects to the chest strap and displays your workout data wireless. The best heart rate monitors track other metrics as you exercise, such as speed, distance and location. Doctors recommend exercising at 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate, known as your target zone. This will minimize the risk of having cardiovascular problem or musculoskeletal injury caused by pushing too hard.

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