What’s In the data?
Many of us today wear a fitness band with a built-in heart rate monitor. Yet so many of us don’t understand what that data is telling us. Or even how we can use it to our advantage.
Quite often they check their steps, watch their calories but do not understand what it all means; this article poses the question. Why monitor your heart rate and how a heart rate monitor can help you every step of the way.
Why use a heart rate monitor to check your heart rate?
One of the most important features to use in every heart rate monitor is the ability to track your heart rate. Tracking your heart rate, understanding your heart rate, and how it works during exercise can not only help you track health and fitness levels or calories burned.
It can help you set fitness goals and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Achieved by helping you to maintain a healthy heart. It can also tell you how well the exercise you are doing is working for your body.
For instance, If you are looking to lose weight. You can use your heart rate monitor to work out at what intensity you should be training to gain the most when it comes to conditioning your body. We’ll take a look at how knowing your heart rate and how it works can benefit you.
Ability To Target Maximum heart rate
Your Bluetooth heart rate monitor may give you information as to what your maximum heart rate is. This represents the absolute fastest that your heart can beat. It is important to remember that even the healthiest of hearts can only beat at the maximum for three or four minutes tops. Keep pushing yourself after that and you are likely to end up in a heap on the floor with fatigue.
Reaching your maximum heart rate, therefore, isn’t something that you should be aiming for in pre-set workouts unless you are doing high-intensity training. This type of workout pushes your heart rate to the maximum for a short length of time before giving you time to rest to let it come back down again.
Many people see high-intensity training as a good boost to weight loss, especially those who aren’t fans of cardio because it gets it over with quicker.
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Understanding Your Target Zones
The best zone to be in for maximum fat burning levels or even for the best fitness conditioning is known as the target training zone. This is where your heart is working at 70 to 85% capacity. Your heart rate monitor might be able to calculate this more accurately for you once you have done a few activities to give it some information to work with, but at first, it will be using a crude mathematical formula.
This formula can work out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Which then works out the percentages from that figure. Understanding your exercise target zone and making sure that you are working within it when you exercise can help you maximise the impact of your workout. It guarantees to burn fat quickly whilst also ensuring that you aren’t so tired that you can’t enjoy your workout.
You may well have noticed the maximum heart rate and target heart rate on your device before. But never really understood what they meant. Now, you should be able to see how you can use them to reach your goals quicker. You could, for instance, increase your GPS speed a little if you are out on a run but aren’t quite hitting that target heart rate zone. Also, if you would like to understand what your ‘Heart Age’ is you can find out using this calculator at the British Health Foundation.
Even if this affects the distance that you can run, at least your workout will have maximum impact. You could even keep a check on the time of day that you exercise. Because sometimes this has an impact on heart rate. Many, for instance, find that running in the afternoon increases their heart rate slightly.
Lastly, if you are someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy cardio or are short on time. You could use your maximum heart rate to boost your workout intensity through high-intensity training. Just make sure to use your stopwatch. So that you can be sure you are not operating at too high a level for too long.
So remember next time you strap on that shiny gadget and go for a run or a swim. When those BPM’s start flashing up on the screen use the heart rate monitor feature wisely. Understanding this will take your training to the next level.
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