It is summer and the weather outside is beautiful! To stay in shape, many people opt to forgo the gym and exercise outdoors. There are so many options to choose from: walking, hiking, biking, running, tennis, and basketball, to name a few. But how do you know if you are getting the most from your workout?
Many people use heart rate monitors, which are effective for both beginners and seasoned athletes to see how hard they are working. For beginners, a heart rate monitor can help make sure they work out at the right intensity to burn enough calories without going overboard or risking injury. For athletes, monitoring their heart rate helps them reach specific goals, whether it be for aerobic training or for fat burning.
Your heart rate is determined by how many times your heart beats per minute. Like any muscle, the heart becomes stronger as you exercise it. As exercise intensity increases, your body requires more oxygen, and your heart has to pump faster to supply the muscles with this needed oxygen. Resting heart rate is determined when your body is at rest and not moving. The lower your resting heart rate, the more conditioned you are since a stronger heart is able to pump more blood per beat and thus requires less beats per minute. Maximum heart rate is the highest number of beats the heart has the potential to reach. It is generally determined by 220-your age, since it is difficult to measure accurately unless in a laboratory. The training heart rate (target heart rate) is the rate you strive to maintain during exercise to improve your fitness. It is usually determined by the Karvonen formula, which uses maximum and resting heart rate with the desired training intensity to get a target heart rate. Heart rate monitors determine your target heart rate, which is usually 50-85% of your maximum heart rate, depending on your goals and fitness level. After exercising, you need proper time to recover and rest. Your recovery heart rate should be about 20 beats within your heart rate before beginning your exercise regimen.
There are a variety of heart rate monitors on the market. Some track calories burned, speed, and distance. Heart rate monitors are generally easy to use, convenient, and not that expensive. If used properly, a heart rate monitor can provide some of the benefits of having a personal trainer or coach with you during your workouts. (I wouldn’t say this, you still want people to use a personal trainer.
At THE ARENA, we recommend the Nuvita Pro heart rate monitor, since it appears to be more accurate than many of its competitors. It also directly links with your phone and gives you the ability to have a personal trainer monitor your progress and give feedback and suggestions. Please see our website at http://purefitclub.com/nuvita-pro/ for more information.
No matter which heart monitor you choose, remember that nothing can substitute for your own rate of perceived exertion. If you are tired or breathless or don’t feel well, stop immediately, no matter what the heart rate monitor says!!!